My little boy is now three and a half and he really is the apple of my eye. To Jack, I’ve always been just Mummy. It doesn’t matter that my speech is a bit funny or that I walk differently to everyone else. My wheelchair is just part of me and Jack doesn’t care about any of it, all he cares about is Mummy’s cuddles!
He’s grown up with my disability and although he’s starting to realise my limitations, they thankfully don’t matter. I’m his mum and that bond is as you’d expect, as strong as any other mother/son relationship.
I know there may come a day when Jack will ask questions about my disability and I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to how I might answer them. With honesty and humour, that’s my plan. I want Jack to be able to ask any question he wants and know he’ll get a honest answer. I don’t want a lack of knowledge to make him fearful of anything in life.
That’s what has inspired the book I’m currently working on. Too many children are not exposed to disability and then when they do come across it, they are unsure what to do. I’ve overheard so many conversations, where a child is asking mum or dad why I’m in a wheelchair or why I speak like that. The parent’s embarrassment often leads to both a hushed and a rushed response and I think children need and deserve more if they are going to be equipped to manage situations in the future.
As well as raising disability issues within the context of a story, my book will also offer nuggets of advice for teachers and parents, who may understandably struggle to answer those awkward questions. I hope it will enable children and parents to initiate open, honest and fulfilling conversations which help to satisfy children’s curiosity and give them both much needed “disability confidence”.
Watch out for further information, title and release dates!