10-year-old Heart Kid ver­bally abused at Royal Show Mum’s plea: Just think be­fore you judge us

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - NATHAN DAVIES

WHEN 10-year-old Han­nah Scott went to the Royal Ade­laide Show this week, she was look­ing for­ward to a rare, fun day out with her fam­ily.

What she got in­stead was a tirade of con­fi­dence-de­stroy­ing abuse from a per­fect stranger.

Han­nah is a Heart Kid, born with a con­di­tion called Te­tral­ogy of Fal­lot – a se­ri­ous dis­ease which has seen her un­dergo two open-heart surg­eries and can leave her feel­ing very tired and un­able to walk long dis­tances.

This means she oc­ca­sion­ally uses a spe­cial-needs pram – a larger ver­sion of a stan­dard stroller – to get around when she’s tired. To an im­pa­tient woman in the tasting pavil­ion, how­ever, Han­nah was just a kid who was too lazy to walk.

“There was a woman be­hind us get­ting quite ag­gres­sive, tut­ting and cluck­ing,” Han­nah’s mother Sarah Scott said.

“She just barged straight through and turned around and mut­tered some­thing that I didn’t hear. Then said, to­wards Han­nah, ‘why would you put a f…ing 10year-old in a pram?’”

The mother of three, who runs a quilt­ing busi­ness from her Aldinga home, said the woman’s com­ments were both shock­ing and deeply up­set­ting.

“I get dirty looks all the time, and you get peo­ple get­ting cranky and hip-and­shoul­der­ing you, but we’ve never had any­thing di­rected to­wards Han­nah be­fore.”

Ms Scott said Han­nah didn’t want to use the adap­tive stroller at the Show, but she had talked her into it be­cause she was so tired after hav­ing played soccer two days ear­lier.

“We do an hour-and-ahalf of physio ev­ery week just so she can play soccer,” she said. “At the Show, I had to con­vince Han­nah to use the pram be­cause she was al­ready limp­ing and sore – the oxy­gen just doesn’t get to her legs.

“For kids like Han­nah that don’t need a wheel­chair full-time, the prams are great. Ac­cept­ing a wheel­chair is a huge emo­tional step and one we’re just not ready to make at this stage.

“But this woman’s com­ments made her ashamed, and that’s not how you should make a kid feel – par­tic­u­larly not one who’s not in con­trol of her cir­cum­stances.”

Han­nah said she wished the woman had taken more time to think be­fore mak­ing the hurt­ful com­ments.

“I felt re­ally an­noyed be­cause no­body’s ever said any­thing like that to me be­fore,” Han­nah said.

“It’s un­usual to see an older per­son in a pram so you should prob­a­bly know that they have a prob­lem.”

Fol­low­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence, Han­nah no longer wanted to use the stroller and the Scott fam­ily – who had planned to stay for the fire­works – was forced to leave the Show early.

Mrs Scott had only one mes­sage for the woman who ru­ined her fam­ily’s day: “Just be nice. It’s re­ally not that hard.”

Dis­abil­ity or­gan­i­sa­tion Novita, which sup­plied Han­nah’s stroller, said the prams were of­ten used by chil­dren whose dis­abil­ity might not be ob­vi­ous.

“Spe­cialised prams and strollers are used by chil­dren with spe­cial needs to as­sist them in their mo­bil­ity,” said Louise Ganser, clin­i­cal lead in as­sis­tive tech­nol­ogy with Novi­tat­ech.

“Dis­abil­ity is not al­ways vis­i­ble and many peo­ple who live with dis­abil­ity may re­quire a mo­bil­ity de­vice, even though this may not be ob­vi­ous to the gen­eral pub­lic. Mo­bil­ity de­vices are im­por­tant to aid in­clu­sion and com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

Pic­ture: BIANCA DE MARCHI

JUST BE NICE: Heart Kid Han­nah Scott, 10, dressed in one of her trade­mark one­sies, with mother Sarah and their spe­cial-needs pram.

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