Woman supports for banning mom from disability group: ‘Our safe space’

A woman was supported for excluding the mother of a disabled child from a local parent group.

In a post on Reddit’s popular r/AmITeA****** (AITA) forum, user u/DisabledMom2 shared the story, which garnered thousands of positive votes and comments.

“I’m in a group for disabled parents. The group is not for parents of disabled children. It is for parents with disabilities. While many of our members have a child or children with disabilities, that is not why they are in the group,” the original poster wrote.

“The purpose of the group is to have a support network of fellow parents with disabilities that is free of the stigma and condensation that disabled people with children often face,” she said.

Self-help group and mother with child
This combination shows people attending a support group meeting (L) and a woman reading to a child in a wheelchair (R). The internet has supported a support group for disabled parents who have refused to take in a mother of a disabled child.
Drazen Zigic/LightFieldStudios/Getty Images

Tanja Hester, disability activist and bestselling author, tells the story news week: “People with disabilities – whether adults or children – face enormous challenges, even in countries where disability provisions are enshrined in law. There are numerous additional costs that people without disabilities are not usually aware of, and additional psychological burdens.”

The Redditor explained that a woman recently sent the support group a message about joining and they would have liked to give her the information about their next meeting. But when she arrived with her son in a wheelchair, the mother sat on her phone for most of the meeting and didn’t join the conversation.

“During one of our attempts to engage her in the conversation, she mentioned that she is in no way disabled,” she wrote. “I mentioned that this group is for disabled parents and she replied that her son is disabled. That’s not really relevant.”

At the end of the meeting, the group informed the woman that she could no longer attend.

“We told her she couldn’t be a member of the group because it’s a support group for parents with disabilities and she’s not disabled. She was very offended and kept talking about her son,” the poster said.

Another member of the group tried again to explain that this is not a group for disabled children.

“This group is our safe space and they are invading there,” the Redditor said. “She told us we are hypocritical C-words for excluding her son and left very upset. Were we unfair?”

“Parents of disabled children (often incorrectly referred to as ‘children with special needs’, a term discouraged by disability rights organizations) have their own set of challenges, which vary depending on the level of their child’s disability, the number of children they care for and their Household incomes vary, etc.,” Hester said, but agreed that the group in question wasn’t the right place for this parent.

“To use a rough analogy, when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, join a support group for other people grieving their own losses, not a support group for people dealing with cancer or addiction,” she said . “Everyone needs support, but the support that is offered in these groups is different because the experiences are different.”

Online, Reddit users also agreed that the group wasn’t at fault in rejecting the woman.

“She literally doesn’t fit the purpose of the group,” one person commented. “You shouldn’t feel bad about it.”

“It’s called selective listening. Narcissists are fantastic at it,” said another Redditor.

news week asked u/DisabledMom2 for a comment. We have not been able to verify the details of this case.

If you have a similar dilemma, let us know at life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

https://www.newsweek.com/woman-backed-banning-mom-disability-group-1756321 Woman supports for banning mom from disability group: ‘Our safe space’

Rick Schindler

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