Being a disabled parent brings with it extra challenges that able bodied parents take for granted. We met with Sue Searle, a disable mum who has some great advice and support.
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Zoe Cummings: Parenting can hard enough for the best of times for able bodied parents but how do disabled parents cope and where do they go for advice? Joining me today Sue Searle, a disabled parent to a daughter Ethan, as well as Mary Rubra, nursing breastfeeding trainer for disabled parents, and her five month old son Leo and he's got plenty to say on the subject by the sounds of it. Sue and Mary, welcome and thanks for joining us. And quickly just explain to us little bit about how ignorant people are of the needs of disabled parents? Sue Searle: Currently there is no such statistics for how many disabled parents there are in the UK. Government stats probably estimate around 2 million and that number is rising. People just don't expect disabled people to be parents. It's unheard of. I get lots of stared at with crutches and babies. It's almost as if they are not my children. People don't expect them to be my children. Zoe Cummings: What are the things that people said to you? Sue Searle: I had a midwife telling me that people like me shouldn't have children. I had my buddy snatched out -- fun to me by some well meaning lady walking past. Some people were just shocked and automatically talked to whoever is with me and asked, then how old their child is? I said, no, it's mine. That's incredible common. Some disabled parents, they have social services handling them because they are expecting them not to be able to cope. We all know, babies don't come with manuals. Disabled people are expected to be safer parents. We have to learn, it's a skill. Zoe Cummings: Mary, why do you think it is that people have attitudes like this? Mary Rubra: I think it's because they think that being disabled that you aren't able to look after the children properly and that I am an able bodied person and how can you possibly changing nappy or breast-feed your baby, that you won't be able to -- some sort of difficult that's why, and I think that's very -- because they are just as capable as anybody else to be able to bring up children and are good in. Zoe Cummings: Isn't there any situation whereby that you can have some people might be too scared to offer advice or help because they don't want to offend? Sue Searle: There is a lot of misunderstanding some disabilities especially when hereditary people are frightened. They make assumption that people can not cope. There is a person asking, not telling is much easier, much better and it's just a case of what you would say to a normal person if you would, it's the same things, disabled parents have the same face and same problems, it's just that we have to adapt as this is likely so make it workable for us. Zoe Cummings: Mary, you offer advice to disabled parents. What of you found the major obstacle that they encounter? Mary Rubra: It's a tough one I think. I offer - I am trainee breastfeeding helper. People obviously if they have anyone normal, they don't know how to breast-feed or latch their baby on properly, it's the case of getting the appropriate people to help them, so they can achieve what they are after as in breastfeeding, helping the baby latch on properly, positioning, maybe need some cushions, or especially with adaptions - yes my love. Zoe Cummings: You are making it really difficult, aren't you? Just at the same time, just a proven point, are they? Mary Rubra: Exactly. I do apologize. He is very hungry. Zoe Cummings: Now Mary, you obviously go into hospitals and offer advice to disabled parents. What are the difficulties you found that they encounter? Mary Rubra: Oh, basically, midwives are trained in helping mothers with their deliveries and antenatal care but they're not actually trained in help the disabled parents. So I am actually trainee breastfeeding helper and I can go into the hospital and help people, to help their babies breast-feed and show them different techniques, how to hold the baby, change nappies -- Zoe Cummings: Would you show us some of those techniques? You show