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Date published

20 December 2018

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How it all started

I have a disabled child. I continue to go to leading supermarkets to find that they have no specialist trolleys for my child. This has happened throughout this past year in two major supermarkets and only yesterday in another huge store. This discriminates against us and means that those stores are missing out on the “purple pound”. I’ve started to challenge this. I call for the store manager. I explain the Equality duty and I ask my friend, another parent of a severely disabled child, to film the interaction. I explain to the manager that I want a solution to this issue. Upon returning to the stores several months later and finding no resolution to this issue, I again approach the store manager. I explain at length my child’s difficulties and that he has no receptive or expressive language and doesn't therefore understand or follow requests. I explain that I will be returning to the store with a hundred families with disabled children, along with representatives from the national press. I explain in detail the difficulties that we face with our children whilst trying to purchase necessary food items (keeping them safe; trying to prevent them throwing/eating/touching items). I explain that it is highly likely that my child alone will cause hundreds, maybe thousands of pounds of damage. He literally would clear full shelves of stock in aisles. I also explain that my child is not criminally responsible, both due to his age and also due to his level of cognitive disability. Again, I ask my friend to film this respectful, yet assertive exchange. Throughout this time on all occasions so far, my child is rolling round on the floor, walking around (with poor balance and coordination) in a number of different places and this is very clear for them to see how extremely unmanageable this is for us as parents. At this point my child has been either lying on the floor head butting the floor, pulling out my hair or smashing something. Usually, after the second visit, with a promise to move forward to challenge with activism, the trolleys arrive in store within a matter of weeks. I have to say, that we have never had this issue in Tesco who locally have always prided themselves with meeting the needs of our family, and have even go so far as to forming a really positive and caring relationship with my child. The difference that this makes to our shopping experience is unbelievable. A building or a place can only be as accessible as the people in it.

What I did to try to overcome it

(All in previous box)

How it made me feel

This issue makes me feel sorry for families who might not feel confident to challenge these inequalities.

The outcome

Lo and behold - the stores purchase the trolleys!

Final thoughts

"My thoughts: if I stole a sausage roll I would be held accountable to the law. Why should these leading chain stores not be held accountable to equality legislation. Purchasing a trolley for a special needs child is a REASONABLE adjustment."

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