“I don’t know when, if ever, Brody will be potty trained so I can’t start to imagine a time when he won’t need nappies” Laura Rutherford is making it her mission to get supermarkets to stock affordable nappies in larger sizes for disabled children.

Brody is four years old and has Global Developmental Delay, is non-verbal and has epilepsy. He is currently a member of SWAN (Syndromes Without A Name), who support families that have undiagnosed children. Like many SWAN families, Brody has taken part in the Deciphering Developmental Disorder (DDD) study, which seeks to find a genetic explanation for his developmental disorder. “He has been on the DDD study for a year and a half so far, but I know that these things can take time and that there are many more families who are members of SWAN who have been waiting longer. Unfortunately, if Brody does not receive a diagnosis from this, he may not ever receive one to explain all of his disabilities. 6,000 children are born every year without a diagnosis for their condition. I really recommend SWAN UK to others in our situation”.

“Brody is nowhere near potty trained and because he is non-verbal he cannot tell me when he needs to go to the toilet. The largest nappy is a size 6+; this isn’t consistent to your child’s age but rather their weight, which can vary drastically from child to child. There are loads of tips online to keep down the cost of nappies, however when you are caring for a disabled child this cost escalates massively as soon as your child grows out of the standard size range.

 “We knew Brody was going to continue to need nappies and currently I am managing to still squeeze him into a size 6+. But the ‘special needs price tag’ that is stamped on any disability specific product hikes the price up so much that nappies suddenly become unaffordable for many.

“I decided to post a comment directly on to a leading supermarkets Facebook page, as I use their home brand nappies, to find out if they would consider extending their range. When I didn’t have a response, I decided to create a petition to ask all the big supermarkets. Through creating the petition, which has had a brilliant response, and then writing blogs for charities such as ScopeFirefly and ERIC UK, I have been able to raise awareness.

“Feedback from parents both on the petition and on my Facebook page has been really positive and supportive. Parents tell me that they think the most important thing is affordability and accessibility as there are so many disability specific products that cannot be found easily and at an affordable cost.

“I have been lucky as Brody has recently been referred to the continence service and we have an appointment in May but for many it is a postcode lottery, it really does depend on the services available in your area. I have heard from families, who aren’t entitled to help at all due to the restrictions set by the local authority, and some families do get help but with only one nappy a day, which is not enough. This leaves them short of nappies and they are forced to buy expensive brands online because there is nothing available in supermarkets.

“I am hopeful that supermarkets will listen to parents and carers of disabled children and there are changes afoot as a few seem to be listening and taking my petition on board but we always need more support.”

Support Laura’s petition