Little girl with special needs kicked out of Rogers Plaza in Wyoming

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WYOMING, Mich-- Hiliary Dykstra says her daughter Claire has been through a lot. Born missing part of her brain, at two-years-old, Claire just learned to crawl, and is starting to walk.

“She has fought through every day, from day one, till now. That’s why we just rejoice in what she can do, and what she continues to do,” said Hiliary Dykstra.

Hiliary says Claire goes to Rogers Plaza once a week with her grandpa and her therapist to practice walking. That's what they were doing last Thursday, when Dykstra says an employee at the mall asked them to leave, because Claire was sitting on the ground.

“When she’s walking, she does a very good job. She’s come so far. But she does need rest breaks. Sometimes she just sits. It’s part of her condition, it’s part of her disorder,” Dykstra said.

Hiliary says her father tried to explain to the employee what was happening. In a video recorded by Claire's therapist, the employee asks them to leave, and threatens to call police if they don't.

“He didn’t want to understand that she had a disorder. That she was born without part of her brain,” said Dykstra.

The video is frustrating for this mom to watch.

“As a mom, my heart was broken. Because, we’ve watched her struggle through this, make progression. And to see someone so not understanding of what was going on, my heart just sank,” Dykstra said.

Dykstra explains, because of Claire's disorder, she knows she's capable of walking. She just can't physically do it yet.

“You see in the video she’s crawling. Because she was getting upset. She wants to go. She should be walking,” Dykstra said.

FOX 17 did call the owners of the mall for comment.  They directed us to their legal representation, Jason Chozick.

Chozick told FOX 17 children sitting or crawling on the floor poses a safety risk for other people at the mall, and that Rogers Plaza is not the place to do physical therapy.

Dykstra says thankfully, multiple other area malls are willing to accommodate her daughter. That's where they'll be going from now on.


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    • Greeny

      I would imagine the 3 able bodied adults with her and completely focused on her movements would prevent that. And the greater point is in how it was handled. This was not a case of a manager coming over to politely speak with someone, hear out their side and work it out. The manager was aggressive, rude, dismissive, and the owners don’t seem to be showing any more professionalism than the manager did. There are ways to approach things without being behaving that way.

    • Dave

      How could someone possibly trip over her. Do you trip over kiosks and couches when you go to the mall? I’m pretty sure it would be pretty hard to trip over a person

  • steve

    The girl is a safety risk for others at the mall? Hell, the last few times I was there you could shoot a cannon inside the length of it and not hit anybody. Besides, if people are too stupid or rude to give the girl some room, they’re the ones that need to be thrown out.

  • Michael

    I’ve never been there but I’ll be going just to show my support for a business sticking up for themselves. I agree a mall is no place for her physical therapy.

    Instead of respecting the private property owners wishes you take to the media to throw your own temper tantrum of, “How dare they tell me I can’t do my daughter’s physical therapy on THEIR property”? Shame on you.

    • Marie

      Do you know how many people go to the mall to walk everyday? When ever I go to that mall I about get run over by people walking. I’ve even had my doctor’s tell me to go to the mall to walk for physical therapy.

    • Hugh

      Michael, it wasn’t typical therapy. It’s just walking like other people do. That’s considered her therapy. It’s not like she’s doing exercises in the middle of the hallway. People sit on the floor there all the time! Don’t see them being thrown out.

      • Michael

        Did you read the article? The physical therapist was there! It wasn’t walking like everyone else. From the article, “…she knows she’s capable of walking. She just can’t physically do it yet.”

    • Kyle

      michael, you seriously are a completely moron and are exactly the type of person that is wrong with this country these days! your pathetic! you have absolutely no idea what its like to support a special needs child

      • Michael

        Name calling because you don’t agree with me and claiming to know what I do or don’t know without ever meeting me.

        I think you are more of the problem than you think you are.

        • Hiliary

          …And you calm to know exactly how this all happened and you don’t. She doesn’t lay on the floor and she does walk but requires an assisted device.

    • Tim

      And just why are you going to go there? There is nothing in that mall to shop there for. This poor child was of no problem to anyone. The 3 people who may have been in the “mall” at this time would not have had any problem walking in the 30-feet of empty space between this child and them. This is ridiculous.

    • Tim

      No, Michael. Shame on you for your lack of sensitivity. So glad that you are physically capable of doing anything you want. Tough luck for those who are not as lucky – right? Scrooge.

    • Michael Judge

      What an insensitive and hateful statement to dismiss the situation physical therapy. You and the mall are afraid of a little girl. Maybe you will need sympathy one day from jerks just like yourselves.

  • jerry

    its a mall not a building to get your physical maybe if you spend money there i ll bet 10 to 1 ya dont buy one thing from the shop owners and not let the kid set on floor things would be different the mall does not have to be there for you to teach your kid how to walk

    • Marie

      Yeah, who needs ADA compliance anyhow. I also hate those darn powered wheelchairs. I mean, who do they think they are? People could potentially get run over and hurt. Maybe. They’re downright dangerous. It’s definitely not discriminatory to throw out anyone who uses one, because you can just say you wouldn’t let ANYONE drive a motorized vehicle inside. That works right? And don’t even get me started on the health hazards of diapers that could theoretically leak on furniture or people that carry around the oxygen that could potentially explode or something. What if someone’s glasses fell off and someone stepped on them, cut their flip flop shoes foot and DIED? Wheeled walkers, what about the toes? For that matter we should ban strollers and regular wheel chairs too. Wheels are too dangerous. Service dog? Well no one else is allowed to have their dogs inside. What if they turn into pit bulls and lick people? Horrible. Pregnant women’s water could break while walking around. Who’s gonna clean that up? Blind people set a bad example for the kid’s who have been told they can’t play with sticks. Ban them all. Nobody else would be allowed to do those things, so why should those pesky babies and disabled people get to use that as an excuse?

      See how dumb that sounds? Her Mom said she can’t sit in a chair or on a bench and she can’t keep walking forever. She’s physically unable. So yes, accommodation would need to be made wherever she goes, because of her disability. If other people are allowed to go there to walk around, she should be allowed as well.

    • Tim

      People go to malls every day to get their exercise. Children sit on the floors of malls every day just because they are children. This empty building might as well be used for PT as for nothing – which is what it is used for now. There is nothing there but empty space. Let this poor child get her exercise and leave her alone. The “mall” employee was insensitive and foolish. He is obviously so bored with having nothing else to do in this huge empty space that he needed to pick a fight with a grandfather and his handicapped child.

  • J.B.

    Hey, if they want to let their kid crawl around on what amounts to a public restroom on the cleanliness scale.
    But if she gets HEP-A, MRSA,Staph,Athletes foot etc…who’s fault is that going to be?

  • Chrome

    Just another reason not to got to that dump of a mall (if that’s what you call it) Not much happening there anyway. Place is a waste of space.

  • J

    I wouldn’t want to go there anyways it’s just like the rest of Wyoming run down and full of trash stores and people I lived in Wyoming for 20 years and couldn’t get out fast enough. Whole city is trash now but on a positive note Wyoming is first in the state for retail theft so congrats on that I guess

    • Chrome

      so those exercising mall walkers should be thrown out of there as well? Or is that considered OK since they are not handicapped and training?

    • Nasha

      Personal training place? Did they bring exercise machines there? They were walking like the other four people there. People sit on the floor outside of the stores… Rules are rules right?

  • Beth Gort

    i have been there and in the middle of the mall is a little hut seller – his daughter was allowed to crawl on the ground by his hut… I really cannot believe that Rogers Plaza would want this bad publicity – stores in there are already sad. I agree – as a consumer I should be able to do as I wish.

    • Mara

      So then what’s your solution here? Just never let her learn to walk? Refuse to allow her take breaks? Only allow her to walk and take break breaks on the frozen and also dirty ground outside? A house isn’t big enough for this sort of practice so where shall she go? And quite frankly, given her disability she’ll have to get used to sitting on dirty floors. It’s sad but true, so why should people make it even more difficult for her? This is her reality and it likely will be for quite a while. There’s not much of a way around it and it’s not her choice.

    • Hiliary

      That was the only time she’s crawled on the floor, to get to my dad when the man was yelling at him. We don’t let her crawl on public floors under normal circumstances.

  • Danielle

    Seriously, this breaks my heart. It is honestly nothing new in West a Michigan though. People say they are kind and accommodating but no. My son has autism and twice the people working at Marge’s Donut den have been rude to us when we tried to bring our kids in on a birthday. We have them a second chance and had the same issue. People in West Michigan are not understanding or kind – and my son is high-functioning too. Sad.

  • Cquick

    I really ant believe some of these comments. First of all, half the idiots commenting here have no idea what a struggle and heart break it is to raise a child’s with a disability, ESPECIALLY one where your baby is missing a part of their brain. Have compassion! I’m sure this mother goes through quite a bit to enjoy the same milestone memory making that MOST people take for granted. How about this, have a baby and let a dr tell you your child may never walk or talk because of a condition they they couldn’t control. THEN, have a someone publicly embarrass you and your family for trying to allow your daughter the same freedom everyone else gets. The comments would be different here if the shoe was on the other foot.

  • Phyllis Christie

    I hope that people decide to go & spend their money in a different mall. That is no way to treat a child in her condition to be harrassed. I know I will let people know about that Mall & how they treat handicapped children there. People STAY AWAY from that Mall.

  • Traci

    They probably used Roger’s because it is so dead, unlike Woodland and Rivertown. Where she would have a greater chance of being bumped into while walking, on top of over stimulation from the noise and crowds. I haven’t been to Roger’s in years and guess it stays that way, even if it is 10-15 mins from my house. Everytime I have driven past the parking lot is pretty much empty, even during the car cruise down 28th st.

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