It’s Special Education Week and this post is in honour of all children
who just need a little extra help… attention and acceptance!
The dream of a child is the dream that two ordinary people had about the child that was about to be born. The nine months of waiting were full of magical moments… will it be a boy or will it be a girl… that first kick… the list of names (Fearghal?)… buying the crib… working late at the office with my wife and my Mum helping out… the calm request, “Can I borrow your watch?”. I remember the day our daughter, Caitlin, was born as though it were yesterday, and I remember the words… distress… fetal heart monitoring… Emergency Team – STAT! I remember during the emergency c-section, being told I had to leave the room… someone coming out to tell me I had a daughter… being told she couldn’t breathe on her own! I remember the baptism in the hospital intensive care nursery, and the hospital chapel… looking up at a portrait and remembering that song from Sunday School “Jesus Loves the Little Children”. I didn’t know it then, but the hand of God came down and touched my little girl. Caitlin could have been born with a severe disability, but she wasn’t! After being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at eighteen months, the doctors and therapists said it’s possible our daughter may not walk or talk. At two and a half she began to walk, she first started communicating with a combination of sign language and words. Caitlin, and her Mum and Dad have forgotten most of the signs. We haven’t forgotten the dreams… we have a beautiful daughter whom we wouldn’t give up for anything in the world! Our daughter is more challenged by life, but “when every challenge is tougher, every victory is sweeter”. Our dream has been tempered by reality, but it’s still the same.
The dream of a child is the dream that a little girl had about all the things little girls dream of. Her first nine years have been full of magical moments… sitting upright at twelve months, crawling at sixteen months, standing at two and walking at two and a half. Caitlin remembers not being able to run around with the other kids at her daycare… having to wear a “crash helmet” all the time… discovering that signing doesn’t work when Mum isn’t looking, using her words works better! Caitlin has forgotten most of the falls and bruises. She hasn’t forgotten the dreams… she wants to be a Doctor or a Veterinarian or a Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapist, so she can help kids like herself. Caitlin’s dreams have been tempered by reality, but they are still the same.
The dream of a child is a dream of possibilities, possibilities that might be transcended with the right kind of help or with the right kind of therapy. The right kind of help may allow children like Caitlin and parents like us, to realise the dream of a child.
©1998 Julian Luckham
I wrote this back in 1998, when my daughter was only nine years old, when we were fighting for support to have Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for children with CP accepted and covered by Health Care. I post it here now in recognition of Special Education week. Caitlin is now 21.
Children with Special Needs do not have an illness. It is not contagious. They only want what we all want, to be accepted. It is Special Education Week and this is in honour of all children who just need a little extra help… attention and acceptance!
Take a moment to read this story that was passed on to us by a therapist that was working with Caitlin: Welcome to Holland (raising a child with a disability)
© 2009 Julian Luckham all rights reserved, this photo should not be used in any way without my explicit permission.