When my son was born we knew straight away that something was wrong. His facial features were different and he did not have a sucking reflex so I was unable to breast feed him. The doctors ran so many tests but could not diagnose anything ‘wrong'. He's been to specialists all over the country with no specific diagnosis, but at the end of the day he is my son.
It took a while for him to sit, crawl and walk and he is still unable to talk verbally. We have been working very hard with him using Makaton and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and he is able to sign a few words and ask for what he wants which has been a saving grace for him and the rest of the family. He finds some levels and pitches of noises very painful and will shout and hit out, and at 15 and 5'5" he certainly packs a punch!
Because of this I tend to communicate with him by gestures and one word sentences. I sometimes feel really self conscious doing this in public as I'm worried that people may think I'm being nasty to him. But I know this way works and it's better than the alternative - to have him hit a member of the public when he's in pain through noise and then have the police called. Yes, this has happened on a number of occasions!
My son and the rest of the family definitely benefit from living in the countryside.
My son and the rest of the family definitely benefit from living in the countryside as he can go and play outside by himself without the fear that he'll get knocked over by passing traffic. There's also no worry that he'll wonder off as, although he likes his independence, he needs to know where I am at all times to feel safe.
This brings me on to how I keep myself healthy both mentally and physically! If ever I'm feeling down or need to have some time to gather my thoughts, my son and I get in the car and drive 15 minutes to the coast and battle it out with the elements. If you have been to the Northumbrian Coast you will know what I'm talking about. My son loves it there as he can run around and paddle in the sea and play in rock pools. He is definitely the most animated and shows love here, regularly running up to give me a hug or make me laugh by putting seaweed on his head as hair. I don't get this affection from him otherwise, so I treasure these moments.
When we're out walking on windy days I sometimes do my own version of ‘scream therapy' and scream as loud as I can, and as far way from my son as possible! It does me no end of good and I definitely feel 100 times better afterwards. I also use this space to cry. I try and hold it together so much at home so I can be strong for my son and the rest of the family but I'm only human and need this space to let it all out.
I try and hold it together so much at home but I'm only human and need this space to let it all out.
In 2005 I discovered a lump in my breast and had the worry that it was cancer for many weeks until I got the all clear from the hospital. During that period, my son and I went on walks every day come snow, rain, wind and sunshine.
Northumberland has only provided care to those assessed as ‘critical' since the eligibility criteria started, and living in a rural community any short break or respite services are very few and far between. So going for walks is vital for me to survive. I don't know what I'd do if I lived in the city!