Bethan Germon’s experiences with her young daughter demonstrate how massive a problem discrimination has become in today’s society.
Germon’s daughter Lydia, who has Dandy Walker syndrome and cerebral palsy, frequently gets mocked and laughed at in public because of her disabilities, according to The Sun.
The Welsh family decided to share their experiences publicly to raise awareness about the discrimination problem and to encourage parents to teach their children to respect people with special needs.
Germon said she walked away heartbroken after a recent experience at Tesco in Swansea, Wales. As she was shopping with Lydia, she said she noticed two children laughing at her daughter. Much to Germon’s shock, the children’s mother did not correct them; instead, she started laughing with them.
“As we were leaving, there were a couple of kids there mocking Lydia – which isn’t unusual,” Germon said. “They were pointing and giggling uncontrollably, usually when this happens, they cling onto their mum or dads as they are not sure how to deal with a child like Lydia, generally the behaviour of the parent is to get angry and tell them off.
“The mum asked them quite loudly what they were laughing at, when they pointed over at Lydia she laughed with them,” she continued.
At first, Germon thought she may have misinterpreted the situation, but her mother who was with them saw the exact same thing.
“The boy then put his two fingers up and stuck his tongue out at my mum,” she continued. “There’s no point in saying anything as it would turn into an argument that I don’t need, I didn’t want to upset Lydia or my eldest daughter Caitlin.”
The Welsh family has had to fight both medical teams and society for the care and respect that their daughter deserves. When Lydia needed a special surgery, Germon said she and Lydia’s dad, David, thought they would have to travel to the United States. Eventually, though, the NHS granted their plea and allowed Lydia to have the surgery in her home country, according to the report.
Germon also says people have cruelly suggested she should have aborted her daughter — something other parents of disable children have said happened.
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Lydia, who is almost 2 years old, has fought hard to live, too. When she was 2 months old, doctors thought she would die, but she pulled through.
But neither she nor her parents receive the respect that they deserve. Germon said she has received all types of nasty comments about Lydia online, and she has seen people laugh at her daughter in public several times.
Here’s more from Wales Online:
People have told her she should have had an abortion, and that, “if that was my child I would let her die”.
“Sometimes we respond sometimes we don’t,” Bethan said.
“Whenever we are in a supermarket people think it’s okay to make rude comments, one woman looked into her pram before and said that Lydia was disgusting.”
Bethan is hoping to campaign and raise awareness of the lack of education around children with disabilities.
Germon said she knows many other moms of children with disabilities who have had similar experiences.
One of her solutions is to urge parents to teach their children to respect other human beings, no matter what they look like or what their abilities are. She wants parents to help foster respect for human life in a new generation of individuals.
“I want all mums to feel proud of their babies and feel confident to go shopping with them, without fear,” Germon said. “We don’t want parents to grab their kids or be angry with them, kids are curious beings. They just want to know why someone is different. We don’t want the parents joining in either.”