Tag Archives: special kids in the uk

A special field

This weekend I received some news I knew was coming yet never wanted to hear. My friends child had passed away, disappeared into the hours of the morning leaving behind a heartbroken mother. My friend knew she didn’t have forever but was praying desperately for one more day.

One more day.

How often I would wish for Livvy one more day, one more hug, one more giggle.

How often do i allow grief to consume my heart?

Too often .

This last week I have been camping in a special field in Shropshire, the field itself isn’t rather special but for a week or two each year it transforms into something rather remarkable.

From the grassy emptiness it becomes full with love, laughter and friendship.

It overflows with energy, life and living.

For this time each year this field becomes a place where friendships are forged in life experiences.

This field becomes a place where children the world tells cannot, CAN.

This field is rather dangerous though, it is rife with infection, a infectious disease known as hope.

It creeps up into your soul and you start to believe that anything is possible.

Children who can not communicate start to talk, children who cannot walk take steps.

Parents close to breaking become refreshed, families divided are reunited.

This field has no barriers, its a place where everyone gets to be exactly who they were made to be. Not everyone gets on but there is a freedom in acceptance. We are all walking our own pathways and sometimes they can be overwhelming, but here on this field thats ok. You can cry, scream or break down, complete in the knowledge that we all get it.

Over the last week I have become a people watcher, I have observed shy children blossom in confidence, from the first awkward hello to beginnings of life long friendships.

From fire pits to bouncy castles friendship has flowed around this field, some already a lifetime in the making, others being created in that moment.

I have heard so much laughter than even in my grief it has lifted my spirit.

We have had fancy dress from the cute to the never to be unseen, quiz nights, animals and magic. We have hosted our own special Olympics with a level of competitiveness and determination I still can not get over. A child may not be able to walk but they can scream with joy at whizzing over the ground determined to get a medal on their chest.

A balloon release so painful yet so beautiful, how can the most painful part of the week be the most amazing? My heart breaks as I watch those balloons lift up into the sky, my soul aches for my Livvy so desperately I can hear it scream. Yet as my eyes drop to those around me I am struck by how wonderful life is. How everyone standing there beside me gets it somehow. Some may have experienced a loss, others may live in fear of it.

Yet fear of death isn’t found on this field, fear isn’t welcome here.

This field, this camp is about living.

Its about packing life into every moment.

Its about cherishing one another and holding on to what really matters.

The world isn’t allowed on our field, for a week each year we are protected from the daily battles our lives bring to our doors. People who don’t understand don’t visit this sacred place, every chair is filled with people that understand or accept.

Different struggles, different issues, different lives but we are united in our love, our love for our unique wonderful courageous children.

Our special kids. 

 

  • A big thank you to  all at Lower Lacon caravan park for looking after our special field for us all. For welcoming us in a way I have never experienced on any campsite anywhere else and for also being just truly wonderful people that I am pleased to call my friends.

My Special week

So I’ve just returned from what I often describe as the best week of the year Special kids in the UK camp. The week where one field becomes full with family.

I believe this year for me personally has been the best year ever. 

I pushed my own personal boundaries and chatted to more people than ever and have made some amazing new friends thanks to this.

The camp site we stay on is called Lower Lacon and I can say beyond any doubt that it’s one of the best sites anywhere. They go beyond anything for us all and really make the whole group feel welcome. The facilities are fantastic and always spotlessly clean. 

It was certainly a busy camp with everything from adult colouring sessions to a kids magician.

My personal favourite time is always the Special Kids in the UK Olympics. There is nothing better than seeing the determination on the faces of the children as they line up to race. The wobbly walkers, manual wheelchairs and so many more. You can only imagine the intensity of the men’s race, I’m sure there is year round training for this one. 

Seriously I love this afternoon it just sums up Special kids in the UK for me. Its not about being inclusive, it’s that for one week of a year there are no differences, there are no boundaries. No one looks at what our children can’t do it’s always about what they can.  

Alan getting broody over the youngest member of our special kids family.

This year I finally managed to watch the Ugly bug ball, The annual fancy dress competition. Again I think this year topped all previous ones. With the special guest appearance from the Spice girls, though to be honest I think Old Spices would be a better description.

Truly how amazing are they!
  

  

Add to these Miley Cyrus, a ninja and the cast of Narnia it was an awesome night.

One of the most poignant times of each camp is the balloon release. Seeing the sky filled with colour in honour of those who have gone too soon both breaks and blesses my heart. I was invited to speak before the release but emotion got the better of me. I wanted to honour all those missing but my heart was just broken. One family from our special kids family had laid their beautiful girl to rest last week. My heart just ached for the pain i know they are facing. My words just spilled into tears. Grief holds a rawness like no other. 

I love this camp, it’s a week where memories are created that will last a lifetime. I love that I get to share stories of Livvy with people who remember with me. At this camp I am always a mom to four girls and I am so incredibly grateful for this. 

Livvy is remembered so much on this camp and not just because her name hangs on the tea tent that we sponsor each year but also because we hold our annual Livvy’s Smile tea party. So many cakes, so many smiles no better way to remember my beautiful girl. Check out the hashtag #makingmemorieswithLivvyssmile on social media sites to see the memories we have created, Facebook especially.
  

All in all it was an amazing week, yes I was glad to return home to my bed but I was sad to leave this field. 
I want to say a big thank you to Lower Lacon for their wonderful welcome. It seriously is a fantastic camp site and I highly recommend it.

  

I have especially loved watching my youngest daughter flourish. She became a little like the Pied piper this week always surrounded by children. It certainly makes sense that she wants to work with children with special needs later on in life. I’ve pinched this photo from her Facebook cover. How special is this?

 

 

I want to say thank you to the trustees for arranging an awesome week.

A massive thank you to the BBQ team for their constant effort at keeping us all fed. I didn’t realise how much you actually do each week until I camped behind you. Twice a day, every day you were there working hard and for that and the yummy curry I am truly grateful. You guys rock. 

Special kids in the UK is an amazing charity from the forum to the meet ups it’s a wonderful place for parents and carers of children with disabilities to get support. 

This camping week whilst a highlight of the charity is only a part of what it offers. I cant actually remember how long I have been part of this charity but I’m sure it’s been over 10 years. 

If you are a parent or a carer of a child with special needs check out the website and the forum. Honestly you won’t find a bigger welcome anywhere. 

It’s more than a charity it’s a family.


My Special kids in the UK family.

It’s nearly August (squeak)

I cannot believe we are so close to August. 

This summer month means so much to me. 

This month is filled with the friends I get to call my family. 

My Special Kids in the Uk family.

  

I am so excited to turn my virtual hugs into real ones.

To wrap my arms around those I haven’t seen since this time last year.

To see how people have changed, how the children have grown.

I’m so excited to meet our new families, to get to know how special and amazing each one are.

I am bubbling with joy to be hugging on the new additions, babies not even conceived this time last year but now very welcome members of our crazy tribe.

I cannot wait to congratulate those who have major achievements since we last met. New doctors, new nurses, new drivers , new walkers and new talkers and so many more. 

Each one so inspirational in their own way.

I could cry with the excitement I feel, these people are friends who walk alongside me in the world of disability. 

Those who battle each day, challenging decisions, fighting for support and so much more.

This camp makes my summer.

This field is our island for a week or so.

A place where no one looks at our children differently.

Where no one questions our parenting or blinks an eye at tantrums or melt downs.

Where laughter is the daily medicine that heals our hearts.

I want to laugh with men in dresses, give thanks for women with socket sets.

  
Where,we challenge the term normal in so many ways.

This year is a special camp, well even more special than usual. 

It’s the 10th Anniversary.

  
How incredible is that!

10 amazing friendship making camps.

Camps full of memories that are lasting lifetimes. 

Ugly bug balls, balloon releases and the best last night chats you will find anywhere.

I love this camp.

I have the fire pit ready just have to get the marshmallows.

See you in a few weeks xxx

I’m on the T.V

So a few weeks ago I blogged about my youngest daughter winning the Mayor Civic award  due to this amazing achievement Brodie and I were asked into our local tv station to share more about the award and Livvy.

Take a look at our interview here.

Be kind, I love to talk and Brodie bless her got stage fright.

 

 

If you want to learn more about Livvy’s Smile check out our website Livvy’s Smile and if you are interested in joining us to celebrate Livvy’s 16th Check out the facebook event here…

The crazy bunch of people I love.

So after I  had published my countdown post to Special Kids in the UK I found myself re-reading it from the perspective of someone who didn’t know the people I was writing about.

 

I wondered if I had given you the impression of a camp that was about disability and only disability.

 

Now after spending a crazy wonderful week there I want more than anything to give you a little more insight into who we really are.

 

Yes Special Kids is a charity which was formed by parents with children with disabilities for the use and support of other parents in the same situation.

 

It is true that this is the life we live, but it isn’t all we are.

 

We are fun crazy people that have somehow found ourselves in the world of disability.

 

Yet we aren’t just parents and carers of children of disabilities and our children are far more than just syndromes and conditions.

 

We are a diverse group of people.

 

From wine drinkers to tee-totals.

 

Drag queens to doctors.

 

We are sporty, creative, energetic,caring, imaginative and eccentric.

 

We have parents with full time careers and we have stay at home parents (a full time job in it’s own right.)

 

We are each unique and that’s why it works.

 

We are different but united.

 

Please don’t imagine this camp as a group of people sitting around a camp fire full of woe me for life.

 

You will find us sitting around that said fire laughing at the antics of our young adults, roasting marshmallows chatting into the small hours.

 

You will find us dressing up in weird and wonderful ways, wheelchairs transforming into race cars and families transforming back into the stone ages.

speshfest 2014(2)

Sharing life with others that understand that really get it.

 

Life is about living and the people that I camp with understand that more than most.

 

Special kids in the UK camp is about support and compassion but mostly it’s about friendship and laughter.

 

I am so blessed that I get to call this crazy bunch of people my friends.

speshfest 2014

 

So thankful that one day about 9 years ago i came across Special Kids in the UK.

 

I love these guys xxx

 

*Credit for the photographs go to members of Special kids xxx

 

My A-Z of Special Kids in the UK camp.

The last few days I have been having a fantastic time at Special Kids In the UK camp.

I wasn’t sure how to describe my time away until I wandered past a group of campers playing the A-Z game in a rather unique way.

So here is my time at camp from A-Z.

 

A – Amazing

B –  Beer o’clock

C –  Caring

D –  Drag queens

E-  Enjoyment

F-  Friendship

G –  Games

H-  Hugs

I-  Informative

J-  Jumping

K-  Karaoke

L- Livvy & Lucy- Mai

M-  Memories

N- New friends

O-Old friends

P- Pig roast

Q- Quality

R- Restore

S- Special

T- Tea tent

U- Ugly bug ball

V- Volunteers

W- Wobbly walkers

X- X-citing

Y- Young & old

Z-zzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

Is it my fault my child is disabled?

When my late daughter was born I contracted MRSA and was so very ill. I was trapped in hospital in isolation not allowed to see my children including my precious newborn.

 

I blamed myself for such a long time as I knew how important those first days of bonding were.

 

When Livvy’s regression started I was told so many things including “I have to accept that not all kids are the same and that I should be grateful for two bright kids”. “Are you lonely and want attention” “you are neurotic” to the worst one from a doctor “I think you want there to be something wrong with your child”.

 

I was broken I had this child who had gone from a pleasant baby, toddler into a screaming child

who wouldn’t even look at you.

 

The doctors eventually diagnosed global learning but I wasn’t convinced they just wouldn’t listen when I told them she used to walk, talk and engage with you. They just smiled and brushed over the subject.

 

I honestly thought I was going mad. Yes I was exhausted I had a 5, 4 and 2 year old to care for. I started to let the words of the doctors convince me I was wrong. Maybe I had missed the signs, I mean I did have my hands full.

 

I had lost my baby girl into a world that she wouldn’t let me access I was devastated. Maybe it was my fault. If only I hadn’t got ill. I hated myself and was sure I was the worst mom in the world.

 

I sat at toddlers groups watching Livvy scream when other children came close. My heart was in pieces.

 

In the end I retreated, my own world was safer.

 

Then Livvy’s seizures started. The first one scared me so much I nearly dropped her. Febrile convulsion I was told, twenty more later the doctors were confused.

 

The same doctor who had accused me of wanting to believe my child was ill was now informing me that I had a very poorly child and was looking worried.

 

Was this my fault again?

 

Life got crazy, nobody had any answers until a community paediatrician handed us the words Rett Syndrome.  A week later the neurologist confirmed it.

 

I didn’t want this diagnoses but the more I read into it I realised i wasn’t to blame.

 

I couldn’t have caused it.

 

Something inside of me changed right then as I read the research into the condition.

 

“Baby girls are born “normal” but begin to lose acquired skills between the ages of 1-3 years old. ”

 

See I wasn’t wrong.

 

This gave me so much strength. I wasn’t a bad parent, I hadn’t let her down.

 

It wasn’t my fault,

 

This realisation gave me the courage to break the chain of lies that were in my head.

 

No more.

 

I was determined to do as I had been.  Being the best mom I could to my now four beautiful girls. I armed myself with knowledge to quieten those who shared their ignorance with me and believe me many still did. I don’t believe it was with malicious intent but my goodness some people do need to think before they speak.

 

The darkness began to lift and I realised that it had been the fear that her condition was my fault that was slowly eating me up inside robbing me of my joy.

 

It’s not easy when you realise your child is disabled. You question everything you did. I ate healthily when pregnant. Didn’t drink or smoke.

 

Yet somehow the comments from people and professionals had cast doubt in my mind.

 

Was it my fault that my daughter was disabled?

 

No it blooming was not.

 

It was one of those things in life that just happens it was caused by a single gene mutation that leads to underproduction of an important brain protein.

 

I couldn’t be responsible for that.

 

This knowledge set me free and the fear dispersed.

 

I was then able to live life for the gift it was.

 

Livvy emerged slowly from her own world and her mischievous spirit started to show.

 

My other daughters just grew and bloomed.

 

Life was good.

 

Then in 2008 we lost my beautiful girl.

 

As the pain tore into my soul the words “it’s your fault ” returned to mind. “You should have seen, you should have known.”

 

Thankfully, I can’t believe I’m writing this but thankfully the inquest told me otherwise. Livvy had lost her battle to a rare virus and the complications of Rett Syndrome.

 

There was nothing I or anyone could have done.

 

One thing I have learned this last few years is that even with the truth in their faces some people will believe what they want to believe.

 

Maybe it’s ignorance maybe at times it is spite.

 

I can only be responsible for my own mind and my own thoughts.

 

I was blessed to be Livvy’s mom and nothing or no one will ever take that from me.

 

 

I honestly believe the whole process of the diagnosing of children’s disabilities need to be looked at.

 

Doctors, health professionals need to listen closer to parents. We may not have the medical degree but we do know our children.

 

If doctors had listened closer to me when Livvy first went into her regression her diagnoses would have come sooner. But also I personally wouldn’t have had to face the internal pain believing it was my fault.

 

I’m sharing this today after reading my friends blog over at Autism and love. Although our journeys are very different again I see how easy you can be left believing your child’s disability is your fault.

 

The time up to Olivia’s diagnoses was so hard. Hearing words like “naughty child” or “attention seeking” leaves you feeling so very lost.

 

Health professionals need to be more aware of the impact that statements like this leave on a parent . To be aware of what they must be feeling. No one plans to walk this pathway so more support is so needed.

 

Finding out your child has a disability is so hard. You have to let go of many dreams you had for child’s future. Let go of the life you used to have.

 

But with the right help, support and friendship your life can and will be a good one.

 

My life is so different because I got to be Olivia’s mom and for that I am truly grateful.

wonderful gift

 

 

 

 

It’s countdown time.

So the official countdown for Special Kids In the UK camp has started.

 

Though for many it began the moment we pulled away last year.

 

How and why is this camp so important?

 

So special to the members of this charity?

 

Well to be honest its pretty simple.

 

For the most part we live our lives on the outside.

 

Exclusion is not only for our children but us the parents and families too.

 

In an ideal world I would be writing about inclusion and community but when your lives consists of endless hospital visits, medications, physio, adaptions, assessments and so much more.

The conversations are rather different to many around you.

 

 Life is so very different. 

 

This is why this camp means so much.

 

For a week each year we are inclusive.

 

We all understand.

 

We live on the inside of our own special world.

 

I am so excited for this years camp.

 

I can’t wait to relax in a place where I know people get it.

 

Where friends have become family.

 

I may not know everyone’s name but I know they understand my life.

special kids 2

 

I love the fact that this time next week we will be laughing around  the communal  BBQ.

 

Watching the men become BBQ kings.

You have never had a sausage until you have a Special kids in the UK sausage.

Yes i really wrote that ha ha.

 

Kids will be dancing in wheelchairs and jumping on bouncy castles.

 

There will be wheelchair races with screams of go faster.

 

Wobbly walkers and fun running battles where often the older show the younger how its done.

 

There will be tea parties with strawberries and cream, cakes and more cakes.

 

Dvd nights and wine fuelled chats under the stars.

 

I cannot wait.

 

My children cannot wait.

special kids 1

 

I am bias I  do so love Special kids in the UK. 

 

Some of these people have been my friends now for over 8 years, they have walked beside me through the dark times.

 

They have held me when I have cried.

IMG_1689

 

They have laughed at me and with me.

 

Whatever the dally battle of raising a child with special needs brings I know that somewhere on that forum is advice and compassion.

 

I think Special Kids In the UK is unique, its not aimed at any particular syndrome or disability.

 

In fact many of our kids are undiagnosed.

 

It’s just a place that offers friendship and support whatever the situation or circumstance.

 

I love this crazy bunch of people.

 

We are so different yet so alike in our desire and drive to give our children the best quality of life we can.

 

So yes I am counting down the days to next week.

 

To when I get to pull up on that Field in Wem.

 

When I get to find my little place in this world that makes total sense.

 

The camping field of Special Kids in the UK.