A MOTHER has hit out at “discrimination” after her disabled son was not allowed on to rides at a theme park.

Grace Palmer, of The Swallows in Peacehaven, said her son was stopped from going on rides at Chessington World Of Adventures because he could not walk three steps.

Her four-year-old Sonny Trewin suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, meaning he has to use a wheelchair.

She told The Argus: “The whole park itself is not designed for disabled people. It’s discrimination really.

“There’s nothing on the website, in the brochure or in the terms and conditions about having to take three steps.

“Had we known, we wouldn’t have taken him up there because it’s pointless.”

She visited with her partner Jack McManus, daughter Lola-May Trewin, nearly five, and Sonny.

She said when they arrived they were not told about the three-step rule.

It was only once they tried getting on some of the rides, where Miss Palmer had to carry two-stone Sonny up steps, that staff mentioned the rule.

Miss Palmer, 29, said: “There were other children being carried on to the rides.

“They asked him if he could walk and he said, ‘No, I can’t, I have no muscles in my legs.’ “There were no clear guidelines and there was no compassion.

“We just wanted to go home at the end of it. It was such a disappointment – it was really upsetting.”

When Miss Palmer rang the park beforehand she was told there were 21 rides they could go on.

In the end, however, there were only two rides out of 30 Sonny was allowed to use because of the three-step rule.

But the family did end up going on three rides they technically shouldn’t have, including Tomb Blaster, pictured right.

In total, the group went on five rides, having spent £70 getting into the park and £80 on petrol and food, money Miss Palmer said was “totally wasted”.

She added: “I spoke to two other people with wheelchairs and they thought it was horrendous. It wasn’t disabled friendly at all. I certainly won’t be going there again.”

A Chessington World of Adventures spokeswoman said: “Our guest help and information team are always happy to help and will be reviewing the correspondence with the aforementioned guest as soon as possible.

“They appreciate the guest’s patience during this peak time for our operation.”

She said its disability policy takes into account specific needs as well as the health and safety regulations relating to its business, adding that its policies are on its website and that the park does all it can to detail any difficulties accessing rides.

What is atrophy?

SPINAL muscular atrophy is a rare muscle-wasting condition with no cure.

It is a genetic disease that causes progressive loss of movement.

In varying severities, it occurs due to deterioration in nerve cells connecting the brain and spinal cord to the body’s muscles.

As the link between the nerves and muscles breaks down, the muscles that are used for crawling, walking, sitting up and moving the head become progressively weaker and shrink. Mental abilities are unaffected.