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OUR FAMILY

 

When our two healthy sons were four years and two years of age our third son, Gary, was born. He was a placid pleasant baby who only cried for food. While he was well fed he was content. But I worried. The health visitor and the nurses at the clinic told me that I should be happy to have such a beautiful well behaved child.

 

As time went by our beautiful boy was slow to reach the developmental milestones and was unsteady and unco-ordinated in his movements. Still I was told not to worry as not all children develop at the same rate. He was four years old when I visited my GP to have a fourth pregnancy confirmed. The doctor noticed that Gary was walking on his toes and made arrangements for him to be seen by a specialist to determine if he was spastic. The specialist diagnosed the cause as being mental not physical. I was told that he was ‘mentally retarded’ and would never talk or do much for himself. This proved not to be the case because he did develop speech (though not clearly) could perform simple tasks, obey instructions, feed himself and dress with supervision and some support.

 

At the time of diagnosis Jack and I were devastated by grief and despair. Our lives were changed from that day. Knowing nothing about mental handicap we were at a loss to know what to do. We needed to know more so set about finding out by contacting the local society for the mentally handicapped where we were assured that we would be contacted by the relevant people in due course.

 

My pregnancy continued almost without my noticing while I did the rounds of doctors, specialists, hospitals, social services and educational psychologists.  When our daughter was born our happiness at having a girl was short lived as it gradually became obvious that she required my constant attention.  Jack started to feel neglected because all my time and energy was centred on the children. Our two eldest sons by this time were at school which, luckily for me, was right on our doorstep. They were good boys and made few demands on me, which was just as well because their handicapped brother was accident prone necessitating frequent visits to hospital, while both he and their sister had health and behavioural problems that needed constant attention. Nowadays, our eldest sons are married with children and living in the midlands. They are both in managerial positions commanding high salaries with wives who also have good steady jobs. We visit as often as we can within the limits of our circumstances. These being for them the time available between school and work holiday periods; for us the state of our fitness and finances. Jack and I are both retired and taking life easy. Our daughter, now aged 38, still lives at home but is making preparations for eventually  living independently. She is a good help to her Dad and me, patient with our shortcomings, frequent forgetfulness and infirmities which, fortunately, are not serious (yet). Towards her own future benefit she has taken on a large part of the daily chores, does her own shopping, manages her own money and is making great strides in learning to become less dependant on me. Occasional words of comfort and reassurance boost her confidence and keep her from worrying too much.

 

 

 

                                                                               

 

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A journey of discovery in the field

of learning disability

Gary & Lynn

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Gary & Lynn

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