Teen with Down’s Syndrome that wanted ears pierced ‘turned away from EIGHT studios because of disability’

Emily Wheeler

Emily Wheeler is 18-years-old

Vikki Findlay alleges the businesses across the Devon area refused to pierce her daughter Emily Wheeler’s lobes because they said she would not be able to consent to the procedure. An 18-year-old was turned away from eight piercing studios when she wanted to have her ears pierced – because she has Down’s Syndrome, the girl’s mum has claimed.

But Emily – who can speak and also communicates via sign language – had her day saved when horned body piercer Nicholas Pinch agreed to pierce her ears when she asked him herself.replica watches

His social media rant shaming the people who would not help Emily and criticising the misconceptions around disabilities has now gone viral.

Emily Wheeler
She can speak and also communicates via sign language

Read more: Boy with Down’s syndrome was told he had to go to a different school to his friends – so they did something amazing

North Devon mum-of-four and raw food company branch manager Vikki, 45, said: “We have always faced stigma Emily’s whole life, but you can’t let other people’s narrow-minded opinions affect you.

“She has had a lot of rejection in her life but we don’t dwell on it and we don’t give up.

“She doesn’t miss out on anything – she has brilliant confidence and just wants to enjoy life.

“She just wants to do the same things every other 18-year-old girl does and be the same as any other teenager.

“I have so much hope for Emily’s future – she is a brilliant kid and deserves a fulfilling life like anyone else.”

Emily, who turned 18 on Saturday, was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome six weeks after she was born and has a severe learning disability and type one diabetes.

The teen, who is currently undertaking a life skills course at a local mainstream college, wanted her ears pierced for her 18th birthday and mum Vikki said she began searching for an appointment three months ago.

But Vikki claims when she called and visited numerous piercing studios and a high street piercing claim, they made excuses such as being too busy or fully booked.

Emily Wheeler
Emily was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome just six weeks after she was born

She alleges other places told her Emily, who has completed two Duke of Edinburgh awards and enjoys abseiling and rock climbing, would not be able to consent or insinuated her daughter would not understand what she was doing.

Eventually, on June 11 Vikki contacted Nicholas Pinch, who owns Voodoo Body Piercing which is located inside Electric & Steel tattoo studio in Barnstable, North Devon.

Nick had no qualms about piercing Emily’s ears after she asked for the procedure herself. He gave her two lobe piercings with blue opal studs.

Read more: Girl with Down’s syndrome wows with dance routine after studio rejects her for being ‘substandard’

There is no legal age restriction for ear piercing in England and Wales but many piercing salons impose their own rule of not piercing those under 16 without a parent’s permission.

Emily Wheeler
Emily Wheeler’s parents Vikki and David Findlay

Gran-of-two Vikki, who is also mum to son Chris, 26, and daughters Alex, 22, and 16-year-old Annie, said: “She knows exactly what she is doing, she asked to have her ears pierced herself.

“It made me think, she can understand because she has her own mind – I haven’t dragged her in there kicking and screaming.

“Sometimes when Emily and I walked in, just the look on people’s faces gave me their answer.

“Emily wants to live on her own some day and work – she wants to do the same things anyone would.

“She gets funny looks in the street because she’s got pink hair and because she does normal things like take herself off shopping or go to the pub for her tea on a Saturday night. But why shouldn’t she?

“When Nick said he would pierce Emily’s ears, her face just lit up and he didn’t quibble at all. She absolutely loves her newly pierced ears.”

Emily Wheeler
Nick’s Facebook rant about the incident went viral

Vikki, who is married to David Findlay, 41, said in the past her children have been bullied over Emily’s disability and hopes Nicholas’ post will help increase awareness.

Nicholas, 31, who had transdermal implants put in his forehead 11 years ago so he could wear his distinctive horns, said he wrote the Facebook rant out of anger but has been amazed by the “positive difference” it has made.

He said: “If someone has a disability which means they are unable to communicate properly, that’s different because they cannot give consent to have the piercing.

“But Emily spoke to me herself, saying ‘I would like my ears pierced please’, and even asked for it to be done with a needle not a gun.

“She was also over the age of needing parental consent, but her mum was there with her anyway.

“There was absolutely no cause for concern and no reason why she should have been turned away from anywhere.”