Yesterday my niece found out that she would be graduating with a First class honours degree in history and I was delighted as she had worked so hard that this was the result that she deserved. it meant that I was smiling and rather giddy all day. I studied hard too in my day and it reminded me of something that my mother in law used to say when Joshua was small :” well ,even if Joshua’s brain is damaged, 30% of a brain like yours is still a better brain than most people’s!” which was a very kind, if inaccurate, thing to say in an attempt to reassure us.
Who knows how brainy Joshua would have been without his stroke around birth, but that is really not very helpful speculation. I prefer to focus on all that his damaged brain has achieved :he has learnt the essentials like walking, hearing, seeing and to some extent, talking. But more importantly Joshua’s brain has worked out how to show love, in bucket-loads, and it has a mischievous side too – the part of him that sticks his leg out as I walk past to trip me up and the cheeky element that identified the only autistic boy in his class who he could wind up by saying ‘ No. no, no!’ to, just to get an explosive reaction! These are sophisticated thought processes that when Great Ormond Street hospital say he is operating at the level of a 12-18 month old, they neither witness nor appreciate.
I accept that I will never attend my son’s graduation ceremony, but he manages to make me proud every day of his life.