Whatever I thought that parenting a child with additional support needs was going to be like, this isn’t it. I could never have imagined how incredibly tiring it would be. I could never have imagined how incredibly stressful it would be. And I could never have imagined how very proud we would be of R. Looking back, I am ashamed to say that I imagined that the pride and pleasure that a child like R would bring would be qualified. Turns out that it’s not. Not even a tiny bit.
Take learning that R can spell the days of the week, for example. R is 9. When F was 9, he read the Harry Potter series (but only because he was told that he was not getting to watch the movies until he did). The old me would have thought that I would be far prouder of F’s level of literacy than R’s. But I’m not. For a start, F was taught to read in school. R has learned to read and spell without any formal instruction. Most children in mainstream can be taught to read. The success rate in special schools is far lower. All of this, in my book, makes R’s achievement something to be really proud of.
This weekend, a large group of family and friends took part in the Great Scottish Run to raise money for Reverse Rett. F and EB both signed up to run in the children’s race. I was proud of them both.
R was supposed to be taking part in the “Family Mile”. The plan was for me to push her around the course in her buggy. We were happy that R had even made it to the race, having had another emergency hospital admission at the start of the week. R watched the other children in their run. She watched them receive their medals. There was no way that she was going to be persuaded use her buggy. So she walked. Her Dad carried her a bit and coaxed her a lot but she walked into George Square in Glasgow on his hand. R came last. And I couldn’t be prouder.