WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman is speaking out after her brother, who lives with a severe disability, was denied access to the Children’s Museum because he is over the age of 18.
Emily Janzen said her brother Josh and his caregiver/friend went to visit the museum on Saturday but were told they were not allowed in.
Josh has severe Cerebral Palsy, cannot speak and uses a wheelchair. It makes it difficult for him to partake in activities most adults can, but Janzen said at the Children’s Museum he is able to enjoy interacting with the hands-on learning exhibits.
“Unfortunately, he was denied access on Saturday,” Janzen said. “It was very upsetting. He has gone there many times and this is the first time he has not been allowed in.”
The museum policy, which was confirmed by Global News, states it has the right to restrict admitting children unaccompanied by adults as well as adults unaccompanied by children.
“Although I understand why this policy is in place, I am disappointed that suddenly this policy applies,” Janzen said. “That it is yet another thing that Josh cannot do, and that there is not an exception for those that are challenged in everyday life, learning and play.”
Josh is 21 years old but his sister said he was been to the Children’s Museum multiple times without issue, even within the past few months.
“Under this policy it would be perfectly acceptable for us to drop off Josh and my 5-month old Enzo and leave them to their own devices,” she said.
Janzen said when she contacted management they were offered a tour or an invitation to the adult trivia night where alcohol is served. Both which, she said, defeats the purpose of giving her disabled brother the hands-on experience with the learning exhibits that help her brother.
The museum said the exhibits can only maintain a certain amount of hands-on activity and stands by its policy, however would not comment directly on this specific case.
“The policy is there to protect children and keep the museum as a safe space,” said museum spokesperson Erin Mcintyre. “The exhibits are really meant for kids under the age of 9, however we use 18 as it is the legal age.”
The museum said its space is geared towards children in its design. The tables are at lower heights, the chairs are smaller and it needs to maintain a safe and secure area for kids.
While Janzen and her family can understand why the policy is place, they would like to see staff use more discretion instead of taking a black and white stance on the issue.
© 2016 Shaw Media