10-year-old Heart Kid verbally abused at Royal Show Mum’s plea: Just think before you judge us
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.”
JUST BE NICE: Heart Kid Hannah Scott, 10, dressed in one of her trademark onesies, with mother Sarah and their special-needs pram.