Are you a lazy, ignorant carer Katie Price?


"Everybody is different"
Is the mantra I drill into our daughters.


Katie Price and I are very different women (I only take my clothes off in public for charity for a start).

But then Katie Price and the vast majority of us are worlds apart, but hitherto I suppose I have had a certain respect for her. I guess because she has made a career for herself despite a rocky childhood and because she is the proud Mum of a child with multiple and complex disabilities, Harvey. She fundraises and brings special schooling onto the public agenda.



I don't know the real Katie, the one sitting on the sofa behind closed doors right now with a cuppa in hand and not a scrap of make-up on, wondering what to cook for tea, but some might think that the public image, the pink velour-clad Katie, the glamour puss with perfect hair and comedy boobs, might have been incongruous with a child with additional needs such as Harvey.

Some celebs might have hidden him away, never spoken of him publicly, given him up for adoption even thinking a child who is in any way different might hinder their careers so based on image. I have met acquaintances of those living much less in the public eye who have done exactly that, perhaps through lack of support at the time surrounding the birth and diagnosis, and they have very much lived to regret their decision.

I know not if Katie had an antenatal diagnosis about Harvey's disabilities but I do know that 92% of those who learn ante-natally that they are carrying a child with Down's syndrome choose to terminate. So maybe she said I'm keeping my baby no matter what, and for that we in the disability community have to give her some credit.

But Katie has put herself forward as a spokesperson for parents of children with disabilities. This is a tight-knit group and we all watch each other's backs. Regardless of our backgrounds and our child's disabilities we are all understanding of the hardships, the uphill struggles, the fights for support, the lack of respite, the exhaustion, the worry, the medical appointments and procedures... We may not all experience them the same, but we can relate to one another... or can we Katie?

In a shocking interview with Radio 5, described here by BBC Ouch Disability, Katie claims that there is plenty of support for parents out there, but most are 'too lazy' or 'ignorant' to know where to look or to fill in the forms in order to get it. Ouch indeed. And a blow from one of our own.


Now I am willing to suggest that Katie, not known for being a naturally eloquent orator was meaning to explain that there is not enough help and support for parents out there, and in order to get any at all they must jump through ever increasingly tricky hoops. Often, too exhausted, depressed and feeling it a waste of time they give up and try to make do with what they have. With cuts to resources, schooling, bedroom tax and benefit caps being the main source of worry for most families with a loved one with a disability at the moment, I'm sure she realises that she is privileged to have the money to pay for the adaptations, equipment and private therapies for Harvey that others have to fundraise for. I'm sure she knows she is lucky not to be sleep deprived because she has a team of staff and family to help her. Of course she knows that her fame means that authorities wouldn't dare pass her son's needs by. She also fears those with disabilities being labelled nothing more than an expense in times of austerity. Of course she does... don't you Katie?

No-one would begrudge her that life isn't a struggle for her, but I would hope that she would wish to champion the cause for others less fortunate and more desperate than herself, to stand up and demand a fairer more inclusive society where access to support is given, not fought for daily. Not one where everyone scrambles over the same limited pot of resources.

So I hope what she meant was:

lazy = exhausted/ depressed/ desperate

ignorant = not sure where to turn next

plenty of support = there is some support depending on your child's disability/where you live


I fear Katie has alienated herself from the disbility community with her thoughtless comments this time, instead of wisely using her mouthpiece to call for better support for the rest of us. Let's give her the chance to explain.


What are your experiences of support, respite and services for your family's needs? Join our linky or comment below.



Read Dan Parton's article Breaking Point in Learning Disability Today here. And my experience of becoming ill during the difficult statementing process for our daughter in The Importance of Respite.

Join Mencap as they campaign and highlight the need for short breaks for carers, particularly felt for many during the stressful Christmas period.




15 comments:

  1. Miss Katie Price is apparently too busy with book signings and perfume launches currently to be filling in any forms personally... oh I forget, she doesn't actually need to be filling in those forms because she is a multi-millionairess. So even if she did have to fill them in she would no doubt be paying someone to do that bit for her.
    Does she even understand what the 'average' person who has a child with a disability goes through? How utterly exhausting it is not to have a nanny to be doing the night shift, or how infuriating it is to be told your child is 'not bad enough' to receive any kind of support, or to be placed on a 42-week wait list for a local service? Through work I deal with families who have been through this and much more every day, and not one of them can be called lazy or ignorant. Broken and unsupported, yes. I think Katie needs to think very carefully about how she makes amends for this sweeping and wrong generalisation.

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    1. Agreed Steph. STick all that in a post and bake for 20 mins... H x

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  2. Well said, Hayley - and Steph. This has rocked the special needs parents' constant fight to get better services for their disabled children. I can't stand Ms Price if I'm honest. I find her rude, selfish, arrogant, judgemental and extremely self-centered. She may love her children but I imagine she loves herself more. I can't imagine she would give all the fame up in order to give her disabled son the support and attention he needs, like so many parents have to do, thus sacrificing well paid jobs and careers. We don't all have privileges like she does. I think she is probably one of the worse role models our society has generated actually, and to think she is a spokesperson for disabilities and carers makes me very concerned indeed.

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    1. This is what upsets me too. That she has such a platform to speak from and so many listening, she has a right to be a better spokesperson and role model, but just can't deliver. Thank you for commenting x

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  3. I have shared this blog post on my facebook account as well as Twitter. I was going to write my own comment here, but instead I'm going to use the comments that my parents have made after reading your post.

    "I am deeply concerned that such a high profile mother feels the need to make this claim. My daughter has needed to fight every day for both medical & education help for her son. In fact the authorities you would expect to help didn't. Any help that she received came from the most unexpected people, mostly other mum's in a similar situation. If you can't say anything positive - shut up" (my mum)

    "Here is a woman in a privileged position who could do so more to promote the difficult position many parents find themselves in as carers for children with difficulties but chooses instead to belittle and condemn ! Shame on her". (my dad)

    This kind of belittling of mums of special needs kids can only serve to drive them deeper into despair at what is actually very often a case of "no (free) services or support available". I have had friends who can't even find schools willing to take their special needs children!

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    1. Thank you for sharing and for passing on the comments of those who know.

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  4. Firstly, I'm appalled by Katie Prices comments. But, I find it heartwarming, as often do in blogging circles, to see the response to your post - and all the others that have linked up xx

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    1. Yes, such wonderful, thoughtfully crafted posts, all pulling together again.

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  5. I have missed this - was it definitely not taken out of context then? Shocking.
    But then I am shocked and saddened by the statistic concerning abortion - really that high? :(

    Actually after speaking to someone the other night I got the feeling that no 2 parents of disabled children are the same, and previously I had felt united in some views and this tore me it really did.

    Great post, thank you for raising my awareness to the issue.

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  6. I have found it so hard to find any support, that I have given up even trying to get a diagnosis for my 10yo. I am positive he has a lot of the 'traits' of a boy with aspergers. Most people (including the sitters I had for a short while, for respite), agree with me. Getting a diagnosis means jumping through hoops that I no longer have the energy to jump.
    My youngest boy is diagnosed with Autism and related learning difficulties. He is now almost 6 and, aside from the school, I get NO outside help. I am not lazy, uneducated, or ignorant.

    I am however tired of having to justify myself to people that don't live in the 'real' world. x

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    1. That is the exhausting part isn't it. The justifying and the waiting for support. Thank you for your comment on Downs Side Up.

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  7. I have to say that I have never agreed with Katie Price and her morals. It is hard enough for the parents of special needs children in the fact that they have to jump through hoops to get the help they need/deserve - along with that they also have to cope with the day to day running of a family and home with the extra demands on top of that! I think that they are far from lazy and many of them do not have the benefit of being in the public eye. People like Katie Price, who do, should speak up for them and NOT against them. I do also have to say that many of the people who choose the termination route do not take that decision lightly I am sure..sometimes ignorance is bliss.

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    1. Exactly Victoria. It's all hard enough without additional criticism for many. And yes, those decisions are not taken lightly, and of course with that presented as the only option by most trusted doctors, that is the only way. I am glad I was never in that position.

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  8. I just can't get over that statistic, I really can't. I just read it out to my husband as I am so shocked. I couldn't ever imagine doing that.

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