To launch the start of Diversity Month on Trips100 we are delighted to introduce you to the lovely Laura from Mum on a Mission. Laura’s blog is a inspirational read for parents with disabled children.
Laura introduces her blog by explaining how her world changed forever when her baby was born –
When William was born, my world changed forever, as it would do when your first baby arrives. But for me, it was a change full of more ups and downs than the average new Mum. Because at 4 days old William was diagnosed with brain damage, a diagnosis that changed everything.
I forget how many times professionals told us about all the things he would never be able to do, and how every time I heard it another little part of my heart would break. But those ‘professionals’ have been proved wrong far more times than they’ve been right, and that’s because of Williams strength and determination!
I love holidays… and I’m not willing to give them up because my son is disabled. In fact having a child has made me want to go on holiday even more. When I was a kid we went away every summer and I want William to have the same opportunities and experiences as I did.
Read on to find out more about how Laura, her husband and William enjoy travelling together and how they share their personal experience to encourage other parents with disabled children to travel too.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I initially started blogging as a way to share the experiences we were going through when William was born. But that soon took a turn and I found I was writing more informational and advice articles to answer all the questions people were emailing me about. There are so few bloggers talking about life and travelling with a physically disabled child so I think I filled that gap a little.
Your blog is an inspiration Laura. You and William have been involved in some very worthwhile campaigns to make life in general, and travelling, easier for parents with disabled children. Please do tell us about the campaigns you both feel the most passionate about.
The campaign I am most passionate about is the Changing Places campaign which aims to provide better toilet facilities for physically disabled people. Most people presume that a disabled toilet is suitable for all disabled people, but it is far from it. Without a hoist (to lift) and a large (adult sized) changing bench, it is impossible for my son (and hundreds of thousands of others) to use a toilet away from home. We have to resort to putting him on the toilet floor or leaving him sitting in his own mess if he needs the loo when we are out – which is heartbreaking as he’s put so much effort into learning to use a toilet.
Between Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose there are over 2600 large supermarkets across the UK
. All of these supermarkets provide toilets for their customers. However, only 9 of those 2600+ stores currently offer changing places style toilets.
We want a commitment from all these retailers that they will roll out changing places toilets across their whole network of stores within the next 18 months. It takes just one minute to sign the Changing Places petition.
Please help Laura and William make a life changing difference to disabled people across the UK. Sign the Changing Places petition HERE.
What has been the proudest moment in your blogging career?
Winning the BAPS Award last year and being nominated in four categories this year. The BAPS Awards are the only awards which are solely for bloggers who write about disability, most other awards have disability writers all clumped together in one category so whether you write about autism advice or the funny side of being a disability blogger, you only have one category to enter!
What advice can you give to parents who anxious about travelling with their disabled child?
My main advice would be to stop worrying and just do it. Travelling with any child is going to be stressful, and yes it is far more stressful with a disabled child, but it’s a few hours and once you get past the travel and reach your destination you’ll forget all the problems, meltdowns etc and you will have a lovely holiday.
You may find some of these articles for travelling with disabled children useful…
Flying with a disabled child. I have broken this article down into three parts. It covers everything from researching and booking flights, arranging assistance at the airport, how to use an Eagle Hoist (passenger lift), carrying medications through airport security , protecting your wheelchair when travelling and a packing list guide of what to take onboard for an enjoyable flight.
Going on a cruise with a disabled child – I recently spent the day onboard an MSC Cruises ship in Southampton as part of Blog Camp Onboard and it opened my eyes to a whole new type of holiday. Even after spending a day onboard and looking at it through the eyes of a parent of a disabled child, I still wasn’t 100% sure it would be a suitable option for a holiday with a child with complex needs. So, I went to my trusty followers and asked their opinions on the subject. The article above shares their thoughts.
Wheelchair air travel – It’s an exciting time in the aviation industry, discussions are taking place which should make it easier for wheelchair users to fly. This article looks at the changes being proposed.
Guest post by Dad with two children who are power chair users. A thought provoking post which looks at how air travel is not wheelchair friendly and tips for making the experience easier.
And finally my thoughts on why Mallorca is a great place to visit if you have a child with complex needs and my special needs guide to Sussex.
When other parents contact you what are their main concerns about travelling with their children? How do you use your experience to encourage them to make the leap and travel with their child/children?
The main concerns are usually around wheelchairs going missing or being damaged, and toilets being unsuitable on a plane. But there are things you can do to make do for the few hours it takes to get on a plane and reach your destination. Check out my posts above.
If you had the power to make some radical changes which would help parents travelling with disabled children what would they be and why?
I would adapt planes so that all disabled people could travel in a wheelchair and I would make sure each plane had a suitable toilet for physically disabled people to use.
How do you feel that travelling benefits William?
Holidays are relaxing for everyone, and if we are relaxed as his parents then that can only be a good thing for him. He loves to swim and gets to swim all day every day when we are on holiday. That’s the only time he is in control of his body and can fully relax.
What other blogs do you read for ideas and tips for travelling with William?
To be honest, I’ve not really found any! But we have been taking him on holiday since he was a baby so we have just adapted along the way and taken ideas from friends.