So sad to read that a teen with Cerebral Palsy is to lose her car as she has been assessed as being able to walk 20 yards.The story is picked up in the Daily Mirror here.
Obviously this is very close to home for me having a son with Cerebral Palsy, and for whom access to a car (and insurance) that we otherwise would not be able to provide for him, has afforded him independence, safety, confidence, predictability … and also opened possibilities that would not exist otherwise.
The issues are not just around being able to walk a certain distance. Thinking about my son as a working example:
1.Cerebral Palsy is very tiring, Haddons body does not move efficiently, some muscles work against others, his gait is awkward and energy consuming. His ability to walk decreases. How do you get home when you no longer have the ability to move your body because of pain or fatigue or both?
2. Public transport is a challenge, a big one. Haddon has fallen on buses as it is not easy to get to a seat before the bus moves. There can be frustration at how long it takes him to get his wallet out and sort the money out with limited hand function. The buses do not travel on a Sunday and are irregular at night. (And this is not beginning to take into account places where there is no bus service.)
3. I fear for Haddon if he has to cross town at night to find transport, his disability makes him a target of humour or worse!
4. Yes there are Taxis but given how little money so many people with disabilities have (benefit cuts and/or really low paid jobs are not uncommon) these are not an option.
The car which he could not afford to buy, insure and run without a Mobility Allowance is THE thing that opens up his world not closes it down. I am profoundly grateful to the Motability Charity who recognize this and work so wonderfully to make this possible. However when the Government remove mobility allowance from those with significant disability then even Motability can do nothing to support independence and opportunity.
I notice in the paper today that David Cameron has ruled out further changes to Child Benefit (where more cuts could be made where families already have a high income) meaning that the disabled will have to bear even more of the brunt of the £12 billion cuts. Those with disabilities have already been disproportionately affected.
I have signed the petition for Kayleigh