As it is the season for present-giving, I thought that I would explore something that one of the Mums at Friday’s coffee morning said: her heart sinks when her friends and family buy her son inappropriate gifts, toys that he cannot play with due to his disability. She felt that it showed a lack of care and attention, that they had simply purchased a toy that said that it was suitable for an 8 year old, rather than applying any real thought.
But rather than a lack of care, it may simply be a lack of understanding. You need to spend a lot of time with our children to see what they can master and to learn what they can and cannot do. Joshua’s abilities for example are variable : if he is very tired or has just had a seizure for instance , he will sit quietly and be very vacant and pretty unresponsive. So that child will be regarded very differently to his alter ego…
When he is on good form, Joshua is very cheeky, affectionate and lively: He will get busy, playing the piano, whizzing upstairs to turn bath taps on when your back is turned, using the remote controls as telephone handsets then hiding them, dancing to his favourite Bruce Springsteen and repeating words that he has heard so that he is joining in. He is like a different child in that mood and he does not always show that side of his personality. I was delighted that he revealed some of that at his new respite provision, as it can be sometime before he shows that side of his nature. so any friends or family who have not witnessed that Joshua would tend to buy a completely different gift than those who had seen the cheeky lad.
I have bought him a ticket to a concert for Christmas and he will come along in April with our party of seven and it should be a fun night. Also as the tickets are purchased but have not arrived yet, there is nothing to wrap or unwrap either, which is always a bonus.
I decorated our Christmas tree yesterday afternoon and though he did not help, I brought Joshua into the lounge with me to observe the process, while dancing to some loud music at the same time. He seemed to enjoy the activity and spent a long time in the lounge, watching me fixin the tree up. Had he not witnessed the tree-decorating, then he may not have noticed that it had appeared at all as he tends to take any changes in his environment in his stride.