Disability news

Mum campaigns for families with disabled toddlers to be eligible for blue badges

Sarah Johnson with all three of her children

A mum of disabled twins has launched a campaign asking the government to change their criteria for families applying for a blue badge.

Sarah Johnson, 41, from Meopham, Kent, was turned down for the parking permit because her children were too young.

After being rejected, she started a campaign which has seen a number of parents coming out in support after, they too, were refused a blue badge on the grounds that their kids were not old enough.

Johnson told Yahoo! News: "Lots of people give up because when you're trying to juggle the medical needs of your children, especially if you've got multiple children, it takes you away from actually giving the medical care that your kids need."

Her identical twins, two-year-olds Astrid and Iris, both have cerebral palsy causing them problems with their walking.

"If you have to step up into anything or even step over the carpet, she finds it really, really difficult,” explained Johnson.

Despite applying for a blue badge she was told children had to be aged 3 or over for families to qualify for the permit which allows vehicles to park free in some parts of the country and in accessible bays.

Johnson said: "It seems fundamentally unfair that just because you happen to be under three, that you're told your experiences of the world have to be restricted. So I would like it reviewed in Parliament, to consider a change in the law to make it more accessible for parents for those with disabilities whose children are under three."

Astrid uses a Kaye Walker which has helped her move around, her mum believed this was a valid reason to apply for a blue badge, but she was turned down.

Johnson wrote to her local MP and shared her story on X [formally known as Twitter ] where her post received 350K views, but she still hasn’t been awarded the permit.

The twins are able to go swimming, but because the standard parking bays are too far from the entrance their mum has not been able to take them.

Johnson said: "We don't go to playgroups, hospital appointments become particularly difficult."

[ In 2019, the minimum age for a blue badge was raised from 2 to 3 years old. ]

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