Why this petition matters
Picture the scene - it's the six week summer holidays and it's up to you as a parent/carer to entertain your children for that lengthy amount of time. I know you may already be thinking 'roll on back to school' but you first have to endure the arranging of activities such as bowling, soft-play, theme parks,swimming sessions, trampolining parks etc. Exhausting just figuring out what to do let alone attending so many different outings! Now picture that same scene through the eyes of a parent/carer of a child/children with special needs. The places I have already mentioned are in many cases just not an option - too busy, too noisy and too chaotic for many of us parent carers to even consider taking our little ones (or bigger ones!) to.
My name is Ellie and I am a Mum to two boys aged 6 and 12. They both have Autism and struggle with everyday situations that can make outings very difficult, but both boys want to have fun. There are a few places that are amazing and have SEN/Autism friendly sessions, but my point is, not nearly enough. I wonder why? Do people with special needs and their families not need to have fun?
I recently phoned 2 local soft-play centers in the hope they would inform me that they had some sessions in place for my boys, to disappointingly be told there are no SEN sessions available but they were "considering it". If that is true, they have been considering it for about 3 years as this is not the first time I have inquired about this! Last week I took my youngest son to a new local adventure park. Long story short - due to his lack of understanding, he had a complete meltdown when he had to be ushered off an activity that was not part of the entry fee. He didn't get these rules, he just wanted to jump on this amazing-looking jumbo trampoline filled with bouncy balls (as you do) and he was so so so upset by this, we had to leave, kicking and screaming (him not me, although I was tempted!). If only that park has regular SEN sessions. Even just once per month for a few hours, where the rules would be relaxed, it was quieter and more accessible. Wouldn't that be amazing for those that truly need and deserve it? Not to mention us parents/carers who struggle to know how to entertain our children, especially when schools are not open.
We do not expect these sessions to be free, we are happy to pay like everyone else. We simply would like the chance for our loved ones to have the chance to enjoy life as much as possible and being able to experience leisure activities in a calmer, more relaxed environment would make such a big difference, which quite frankly already should be the case.
I appreciate you reading through this and if you could sign this petition it would mean a great deal to me. I want to see every establishment that offers leisure/entertainment activities have regular (at least monthly) sessions especially for those with special needs/disabilities such as (but not limited to) :
- soft-play centers
- bowling alleys
- adventure playgrounds
- trampoline parks
- swimming pools
- theme parks
Let's get as many signatures as we can and have this discussed in Parliament. Change needs to happen to make life just that little bit easier.
Thank you for your time!