Just because a person may appear ‘normal’ on the outside, it does not mean they do not have a disability we cannot see.
This is a message one family in Montrose is trying to get across in order to help other families in a similar situation.
Allannah Baird and her partner Darren Logan stay in the town with their three children. Allannah and Darren’s middle child, Bradlay, has severe non-verbal autism and can be “a handful.”
Steve, Allannah’s father, initially contacted the Review with concerns regarding how some members of the public treat disabled families.
Allannah said: “Going shopping with Bradlay can be a nightmare because you are trying to get on and do your shopping but the tutting and staring can sometime become too much. The worst looks are because Bradlay is still in a pushchair.”
Bradlay is required to be in a pushchair for his own safety because his attention span can spur him to get distracted and run off.
Going out for a family meal was often considered to be impossible until the Picture House in Montrose was incredibly understanding towards Bradlay’s condition. Allannah added: “Because we are now regulars, the staff understand Bradlay’s needs which makes us feel comfortable to go out as a family.
“My partner and I are slowly getting used to the stares when we are out in public but it shouldn’t be something that anyone has to go through. Bradlay is four-years-old but has the mental age of a two-year-old so this does sometimes show which can take people by surprise, but there is no need to be made to feel different. One thing I have come to understand is you hear a lot more and see a lot more when you have a child with autism!”
Bradlay has been progressing well at the Lochside Nursery where he has been for two years and has started using a form of sign language called Makaton and this has enabled him to communicate considerably better.