As we continue to enjoy our family holiday together, I want to spare a thought this morning for the family of Nora Quoirin whose body was discovered yesterday. Nora was a 15 year old with special needs, due to a brain injury from birth, who went missing over a week ago on holiday in Malaysia. Nobody knows what happened to her, whether she wandered off or was abducted, but very sadly, the outcome was the worst conceivable for her grieving her parents and they will have to come to terms with that now, but where do they start?
Our children are so vulnerable and need our constant protection, from others and from themselves. Of course my heart went out to these parents searching for their missing daughter as I knew the anguish that I would feel in the same situation. Joshua is not independent in the same way and neither is his mobility good, to be able to walk unaided for any distance. I am well aware how sociable he is with strangers and that he has no awareness of stranger danger, so he could easily be tempted away from us in an instant, to who knows what fate and could not shout for help.
Joshua is fast over a short distance and he thinks it is hilarious to run off and expects one of us to come after him as a game – he tries that in supermarkets and yesterday on the beach : we were all enjoying a lie on the rug in a spell of sunshine, and a doze, but thankfully I was awoken by him kicking sand in my face as he struggled to get up off the rug. If he had been more agile, he would have been off and away without either of us noticing. He could not tell anyone that he was lost and while he clearly knows where he is, once he is close to familiar destinations, I doubt that he has a homing instinct at a distance. So the ‘what if’ fears come into play and that is why it is never possible, even on holiday, to fully relax. I have, over the years, learnt to sleep with one ear open! In our holiday home, we have dragged a chest of drawers across the landing so that Joshua cannot fall down the stairs in the night .
The heartbreaking story of Nora, illustrates just how vulnerable our SEN children are and I cannot get her, or her parents, out of my mind.