OUCH!  

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Now, as you may know from some of the photos you’ve seen already, I quite like tattoos, they are expressive, pretty and feminine (if the subject matter is right) and I already have a couple. My younger brother Danny is a tattoo artist and while we were away he tattooed a portrait of Aaron for me, I think you’ll agree that it came out really lovely, it’s so accurate it’s scary and I love it. It’s made a couple of people cry, and I can’t stop looking at it in the mirror.

But then we got carried away. Because the one of Aaron didn’t hurt, and because I have some on my back, spine, inside my wrist, that also didn’t hurt, I decided to got for a foot and ankle one. I wanted an image of the type of lilies we scattered with Aarons ashes…and as you can see, its lovely…but OH MY GOD!!!!

Danny warned me it feels different on the foot. And okay, I was a little nervous about some of the stories I’ve heard…but I wasn’t quite prepared, I was gripping the chair so hard I had the imprint of it on my hands, and only when Danny had to remind me to breathe every now and again did I realise I was holding my breath. ‘I thought I was hard’ I wailed to Danny’s laughter!

I let the kids watch the other one, so they all sat watching Danny outline some lilies across the top of my foot. After a minute I smiled sweetly, and then asked them to go and play so I could swear under my breath a few times. I didn’t think my language was so bad, but Danny said something about tattooing sailors and listening to less cussing!!! Then Danny just shrugged when I said he’d hit the bone, after all, he is an artist and it’s about getting the picture right, not lessening the pain.

After two hours, it was finished, and I wanted to cry, but looking down at it, I was more than happy and would gladly (sadly) do it again. Maybe not without an epidural though!

So I am pleased, Dave thinks they are lovely too, and of course, Aaron is the centre of attention, just as he knew he should be.

Sal and Aaron xxx

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National Lampoons Xmas Vacation!!!  

Sorry, I know I said I’d be back the other day, but I’m having trouble getting in the right time zone. I’ve been getting a bit more sleep lately too as I went and got all chilled out, so now there really are less hours in the day. Now, I hope that doesn’t sound like I’m complaining, and as Dave and my brothers said when I complained after feeling groggy from my first night of five hours sleep, “that’s how you’re supposed to feel when you wake up you dozy cow…you’re not supposed to go from sleep to wonder woman in a tenth of a second.” Well that was news to me.

I’ve loaded a few photos for you, this is my family, and we had a brilliant Christmas. But I mean it is us...so not all ran smoothly, my brother insisted on frying the turkey, not something I heard of, but big in America, and after all the fuss I made, it almost burnt me to admit that it was delicious, non-greasy and best of all only took and hour and a quarter to fry and twenty three pound bird. I wanted to raid the kitchen and see what else we could fry, veggies, chocolate, the toaster…but they wouldn’t let me. Such spoil sports.

By the time the kids had finished opening presents it looked like we lived in a toy shop, and I have to say, kids toys are getting better and better. My nephews got the guitar hero for the wii and Dave was the one on his back on the floor, spinning around in circles like a demented rock star….his excuse was that ‘you have to show the kids how its done’ I guess my brother was just grateful he didn’t smash it into the TV or set it alight.


We ate too much, drank too much, fell off of skateboards and almost ran Dave over in the golf cart, but generally it was great. We were sorry to leave, even if my brothers breathed a huge sigh of relief at our departure.

But joking aside, it is hard having family so far away. It’s not so bad because we have e-mail, phone, facebook and of course blogging, but it’s not the same as being able to give the kids cuddles when we like. Its lovely to go and stay and have quality time together, and the kids just slip right back into it as if they’ve never been apart. Everyone just gets so big while we’re gone.


So we are looking forward to getting back out there getting some sunshine and seeing our old friend Mickey Mouse…

Take care

Sal, Dave, Aaron, Jordan, Robyn, Deion, Garry, Claire, Zoe, harry, Connor, Lilly, Danny, Kelly, Rhys, Lewis and Tyler xxxxxxxxxxx

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Back home!  

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Well, we’re home after a lovely holiday in Orlando and some lovely family times together over Christmas and the lead up to it. We did a lot of swimming, said ‘Hi’ to Mickey Mouse (he never seems to age!) and ate our body weight in ice cream regularly!

It was a little harsh landing to the solitary stingy one degree weather though. To think ten hours previously we were all sitting by the pool sipping cool drinks in the ninety degree heat!!! (non-alcoholic…of course!!!)

I’m almost over the jet lag, and almost back on British time (if I ever was on such a thing in the first place!). And now the kids have finally let me on one of the computers after catching up with their friends/downloading ring tones/synchronising i-pods.

I’m not going to go into to much detail now, I have lots of news, lots of photos and one of the best things is that I got some great insight into some of the reasons about how I hold onto the grief about Aaron and all that surrounds that.

So I’m off to get some sleep now, tomorrow I’ll start posting some photos and blogging. I would have done more while we were away, but everywhere we went there were problems with the computers, so after the first couple of attempts, I gave up and decided it was a sign, so now you’ll be sick of me again in no time!

Take care

Sal xxx

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11th December 2008  

Thursday, 11 December 2008


Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday; I am embarking on the last year that I’ll be able to say I’m in my thirties!

I am always in two minds of how to celebrate now. It is very close to Aaron’s birthday, so it feels a little weird to be celebrating my own birthday, when I couldn’t share Aaron’s with him…on the other hand, Aaron would be very disappointed in me if I didn’t at least stuff myself with cake, he loved his cake, and is famous for eating half a big Thomas the tank engine cake in one sitting…we just laughed because if there’d been time, he’d have eaten the whole thing. So I’ll over indulge…just for Aaron you understand!

In all seriousness though, its not just about me is it, its about setting an example for the kids and making sure they know they still have to celebrate and have fun….I’d never forgive myself if they grew up feeling guilty for celebrating special occasions. That would be the last thing Aaron would want. I know I wont be able to stop thinking about my first birthday after having Aaron, we were still in the hospital, he was in special care, my mum and sisters came up with presents and a cake and my little sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and the only thing I wanted was Aaron out of special care. We were home a few days later in time for our first Christmas as a family.

Between Aaron and Deion, and winter being the time for them to be ill, I’ve spent quite a few birthdays in hospital. This year we’re in Orlando with family, escaping the cold weather and hopefully won’t be going anywhere near a hospital.

The kids want to do something, so we’ll probably go to the cinema or out to eat…or both, and I certainly won’t be saying no to breakfast in bed…who would!

I must say, I don’t feel any different…I don’t feel any different now to how I did when I was twenty, or twenty five…its only when I look in the mirror and think ‘bloody hell, how did that happen!’

Sal xxx

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The Travel Blog!  

Monday, 8 December 2008



Well, we jet off early in the morning, so keeping with the holiday theme, the video blog this week is about where we have been that we love, and where we would go if we had the chance. Look out for Trojans little jibe about me being past clubbing!! Hmmm!! And he cheated…he picked two places…

I’ll be keeping a ‘travel blog,’ while we’re away, and I’ll try to get on once or twice a week to talk about what we’ve been up to. Deion’s been getting chest infections and colds quite a lot lately, so we are hoping a bit of sunshine will put an end to that, then I may even be able to talk Dave into moving somewhere hot permanently…wouldn’t that be good.

I’ll be back as soon as I’m over the jet lag!

Take care

Sally and Trojan xxx

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Christmas holidays!  

Sunday, 7 December 2008



If I’m not doing too much blogging over the next few days, don’t worry, I’m not neglecting you, I’m just lazing around in the sun, floating around a swimming pool with a book and a pina colada!

I’m not making you jealous am I?

We’re flying out to Orlando on Tuesday. It’s been a long year in one way or another and we’re looking forward to a break and some quality family time. We’ll get to see my two brothers and their families and I have a new nephew I’ve yet to meet. So we’re looking forward to a big/mad/hectic family Christmas.

The kids can’t wait, we are packed and ready to fly, all I need to do now, is unpack the kid’s cases and repack them with the suitable attire!!! And convince Deion he does not need to take every toy he owns, and Yes, Santa will be able to find him in America!

See you soon, I'll be blogging still and I'll post some photos.


Sal x

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Gaawgeous!  

I’ve had my hair cut, I love it, but I was worried it made my eyes look too close together…what do you think?







Maybe it’s my teeth that look big...








Or my forehead seems huge, maybe a fringe would look better?????









Trojan discovered another thing on his ‘super computer’ so like the grown ups we are…we had lots of fun with it…we laughed until we cried, and it was the best medicine after the week we’ve just had. Some of the photos were hilarious, and even while I was saying “the kids would love this” I was thinking if I had it on my own pc, they probably wouldn’t get a look in.




Just thought we’d share…

Trojan and Sal xxx

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Thank you  

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the lovely e-mails and messages you sent for us all on Friday. Your words were a great comfort to us all. Aaron must be thrilled to know he is widely remembered, sorely missed and touching the hearts of new people all over the world every day. He would expect nothing less of course!

Sal xxxx

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The Day I Met Aaron  

Friday, 5 December 2008


As its Aaron’s birthday today, I thought it would be fitting to share the opening passage in his book with you.

The day I met Aaron!

It’s 3.17 am on Thursday the 5th December 1991 In Greenwich District hospital, London. After Twenty three and a half hours of labour, lots of kicking and screaming (me, not Aaron) the midwife finally bundled a tiny baby on my chest and I felt a rush of love like I never knew existed, fireworks went off in my chest, I’d just discovered the meaning of life. My son was here!

I knew something wasn’t right straight away, Aaron was very grey and he hadn’t cried yet, just as soon as I’d got my hands on him it seemed, the nurses whisked him back off me. There were people everywhere, doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room, lots of shouting, alarms going off. Not to mention the man at the end of the bed giving me so many stitches that I thought he was knitting a jumper. I thought he’d at least emerge with a pair of booties for the baby...nothing.

This isn’t what was supposed to be happening, we should all be crying with joy now, going all googly eyed over the top of our new babies head, meeting our new baby boy and counting his fingers and toes. Not hearing doctors saying that they couldn’t get him breathing, and asking each other how long he’d been down.

We waited for the longest seventeen minutes of our lives, Dave looked so scared, and I think I held my breath for the whole time, then; at last we heard a cry, it was the determined cry of the fighter my baby was about to have to become; and I just knew in my heart that everything was going to be o.k.

SCBU Special Care Baby Unit

The next couple of days were a blur of Special Care, wires, tubes and alarms. We were young, first time parents and completely bewildered by all the equipment, bleeps, and nurses. There were blood tests and brain scans and we couldn’t do a single thing. We used to sit there holding Aaron’s hands through the incubator doors, telling him how much we loved him, telling him how special he was, and willing him to be strong. He wasn’t a premature baby, like all the tiny ones in the other incubators, he was 9lb 1oz, he looked so healthy and chubby, so why was he here? What was going on?

Aaron had drips going into both his little arms, a tube going down his nose, a tube coming from his umbilical cord; he had a plastic box over his head with oxygen pumping into it, there were pads on his chest and probes of some sort on his finger and his toe. I had never even seen a baby in an incubator before, except on television. I didn’t really even know what all the wires and monitors were for, I just new my little boy was in there, in this plastic box, having things done to him that must have been hurting him. I was his Mum, he was mine, but I was powerless to stop it all. He must have been desperate for a cuddle, I know I was.

The doctors came round four or five times a day, whispering amongst themselves about our baby and the treatment he needed, us in our naivety not really realising we had the right to ask them exactly what they were saying, what they were going to do to make our baby well. Then they’d turn to us and tell us that he’d had a rough start and they would wait for him to improve, then they would all scuttle off again, move on to the next incubator, whisper about the next baby. We just thought that’s how it was.

My First Cuddle

I first held Aaron when he was two days old. A nurse had to take him out of the incubator and pass him to me, and we had to be careful of all the tubes and wires attached to him, I couldn’t quite believe that someone else had held my baby before I had, but as soon as he was in my arms, it didn’t matter. That was the most intense moment of my life, I fell in love with Aaron before he was even born, but this was the moment he tried to open his eyes and look at me, I made him a promise then and there that I would love him forever and keep him safe.

Before long I understood what all the monitors were for, the nurses were so lovely and explained everything as they were doing it. After the first couple of days, I was changing Aaron’s nappy and washing him, brushing his hair, none of it an easy task through the two small incubator doors! I got to cuddle him two or three times a day, we bonded just like any other mother and her first baby. It wasn’t quite how I imagined it, but things never always are.

I guess life never really turns out how you think it will. I never imagined when I had Aaron that he wouldn’t be here with me on all his birthdays, we just don’t expect to outlive our children do we…it’s not the natural order of things.

But here I am on his seventeenth birthday, missing him more than ever.

Take care

Sal xxx

Happy Birthday Aaron xxxxxx

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Thursday, 4 December 2008


I apologise for my absence over the last couple of days. It is only the second time I’ve missed a day, and it was because of another virus…just not a human one…the computer when down with it this time…so I couldn’t get on the net and I realised just how much we rely on our computers now, and also how much I have come to enjoy the blogging.

In a comparatively short time I have become quite attached to using the blog sort of like and on-line diary. It’s been a great way of getting some of those thoughts out of my head and sharing my experiences too, I have also come to enjoy the e-mails and the feedback I get from the entries.

I have now loaded just about every anti-virus, anti-worm, anti spyware, system, data and user protection known to man onto the PC. With any luck, my computer should be harder to hack into that MI5, the Pentagon and the FBI computer systems. So it shouldn’t happen again. I suspect I may have overdone it, as I had to confirm who I was roughly thirty times before I was allowed to connect to the internet…but hey, better safe than sorry. I am relieved however I didn’t go for the retina scan/voice recognition package I saw…I’m kidding!

After reading about what these worm thingies can do to your work, I sort of panicked, I have all my books, all my photos and all my t-shirts designs saved on separate flash drives, just in case!

Well, I can’t stay and chat today, as I now have about thirty million e-mails to answer now that I can get back on-line. But its fine, it wasn’t like I was really going to get any sleep tonight anyway.
Speak to you tomorrow

Sal xxx

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How Far We've Come!  

Tuesday, 2 December 2008



This is something I wrote for Aaron In the darkest days after his passing….it really makes me realise how far I have come in three years, so at times when I think I am at stand still, in those times when I think the pain will never ease, this can remind me that I am doing okay, we all are, we are living and laughing and loving. This gives me hope, and I’ve never shared it with anyone before, but because I think it may give someone else in a similar situation hope too, I’m sharing it now…

"I fight my way out of a groggy sleep. I open my eyes and blink in the darkness of the room. It’s still dark outside, but something must have woken me. I can’t hear a sound, but I have a feeling that something isn’t right. I just can’t quite put my finger on it.

Then, suddenly, in a split second, any remnants of peace are shattered as I realise what it is. My heart plummets in my chest, my breathing quickens, and a physical pain shoots through my body.

Then time goes into slow motion.

I pull back the covers and climb out of bed, I run downstairs and into your bedroom. I know I’m running, but it takes forever, I feel like I’m in a dream, a nightmare, running and getting nowhere.

If only it was a dream Aaron.

After an eternity I reach your bed so I can hold you and cuddle you. If I just see one of your special smiles everything will be okay, once I get one of your extra tight hugs everything will be okay, I look in your bed, and I know then that its not going to be okay, because you’re not there, you’re not there snuggled in your cosy bed where you should be.

You really have gone.

I climb into your bed and curl up in your dolphin quilt; I bury my face in your pillow and breathe in your special smell.

And then I sob, because I don’t know how I can learn to live without you Aaron, you defined me in so many ways and you made me who I am. I don’t know what to do, I want to scream with the unfairness of it all. But I know that won’t help, nothing will help, because nothing can bring you back to me.

I cry until my throat is raw and I feel my heart will break, and that’s where I stay until your daddy and your brothers and sister gently shake me awake in the morning.

I can see that they’ve been crying too, because they all miss you as much as I do.

We will love you always our darling Aaron,

Mummy xxxx"


Life is very different to this now, I no longer dread sleep because this is what I have to face in the morning, and Aaron’s room isn’t a shrine. I don’t think that’s what he would have wanted. We will never move on, we will never have closure, or any of those other dreadful cliché’s you hear a million times a day after you lose someone. But we have accepted that Aaron is with us in a different way.

The love doesn’t change, it’s stronger than ever.

xxxx



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And The Nominations Are…..  

Monday, 1 December 2008

We got a letter home form Robyn’s school today. Now I realise, that for many parents this would send a chill through their hearts and they would close their eyes for a moment before opening it to read what their son/daughter had been up to, all at the same time as picturing the grounding/punishment they would be dishing out.

Not for us though, Robyn often gets letters home telling us that she’s done well in a test or handed in an exceptional piece of homework. This one was congratulating us because one of Robyn’s teachers has nominated her for ‘pupil of the half term’ for her exceptional attitude to learning, and her consistently excellent quality of class and homework.

So we are a very proud mummy and daddy today. We always are, but this is proper ‘gloat at parents evening/to all our friends and family’ stuff.

Robyn reads these blogs, so this is to say, “Well done Robyn, we are very, very proud of you, keep up the hard work. And if play your cards right, I bet you can wrap daddy round your little finger and get something really cool…as long as its not too short, too grown up or in the shape of make-up!!!!”

Bursting with pride

Sal x

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Remembering Those We Have Lost  





As I have mentioned already. Aaron would have been seventeen on Friday 5th December. Needless to say this is a rather emotional week for me. So rather than try to skim over it, or stick a bright smile on my face and say everything is fine, as is often the tendency. I have written about it and been as honest as I can.

In that vein, Trojan and I got together yesterday and did our weekly video blog about loss, coping with loss and the importance of remembering those we love. We ran over time, and that is why Trojan split it into two videos rather that edit, it isn't the sort of subject you can cut short.

Everyone who knows Aaron has their own way of remembering him, their own way of wishing him a happy birthday. The same way as we all have a way of remembering those who have passed on.

I know some people find it too painful to remember, and that is fine, there are no right and wrongs, no rule books, and grieving is a completely personal thing.

For me, it is the memories that keep me going, all the good stuff is mixed up in there with the bad stuff, the good memories far outweigh the bad. So for me, remembering Aaron’s smile, and the love in his eyes, his hugs, his cheeky laugh, that’s what makes me carry on, that’s what pushes me on to leave a legacy for him with the t-shirts, the charity and the books.

He will be in the hearts and minds of those who knew him forever, but I am determined that for generations to come, Aaron will be passing on his special love and generous spirit.

He is mummy’s Angel xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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World Aids Day  



As today is World Aids Day Trojan and I were talking about it and what it means to people all around the world. And not just Aids, all terminal illnesses, and how those illnesses affect the family, friends and the carers as well as the sufferer.

So this is a video blog to acknowledge that suffering and to remind people to do all they can. It is too easy to get caught up in our own lives and our own problems, and to be oblivious to the fact that there are people suffering, families grieving and suffering, and in some cases whole communities and countries suffering.

Take care, do all you can,

Sal and Trojan xxx

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The Week Ahead!  

Sunday, 30 November 2008

This is a hard week for me, a hard week for all of us; Aaron would have been seventeen on Friday.

Of course, I don’t think of Aaron as seventeen at all, I still think of him as fourteen, I always will I think, because that’s how old he was when I last saw him.

I do wonder what Aaron would be like at seventeen, how tall, how strong, how cheeky. And I think of all the things I’ve missed and will continue to miss in the years that he should have been here with us learning and growing and laughing. But in my heart and mind, the last image, the last photo, the last hug is how I think of Aaron.

And I know there will never be a moment when I don’t feel the loss and remember that last moment.

The same way as I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t a mum. I know I had a whole life before, and I know it was full with family and work and socialising. But I can’t imagine what filled my heart and my time to the capacity that being a parent does. I couldn’t have been fulfilled… I probably thought I was, but I couldn’t have been. And now, I can’t even remember myself before. I can’t imagine waking up and my first thought being of me, I can’t imagine going to bed without the kids to kiss goodnight, without wishing Aaron goodnight.

This time seventeen years ago, I may have been wallowing around like a beached whale, eating my (rather increased) bodyweight in marmite and bananas (yes together) on toast, but essentially it was still just me. I do remember rubbing my tummy and having a bond with my baby, but a baby I didn’t even know was a boy or a girl, and I have a vague memory of thinking the bond was’ it’, because it was a strong protective feeling unlike anything I knew before. Of course the moment Aaron was born; I knew it as nothing compared to the ‘discovering the meaning of life’ moment of actually becoming a mum.

So that day, that moment I stopped being a single entity and became a mum will be on my mind all this week, even more than usual. I’ll be emotional at times and angry at times, and all at the same time as trying to make sure that Jordan, Robyn and Deion aren’t suffering in silence. I co-ordinate a whole group of the kids friends and teachers to look out for them and report back to me on anniversaries like this in case they aren’t telling me exactly how they feel. They do luckily, but Robyn in particular goes quiet sometimes, and as much as I hate to see the sadness in her eyes, I hate even more that I can’t do anything about it. And after all, I know how she feels.

I will be avoided the shops, as I will undoubtedly see a million things that Aaron would have loved, I know there will be a sudden influx of postman Pat goodies wherever I go, so I’ll stay away. I’ll avoid bakeries and the cake section of the supermarket, and the card section, and the toy section. And I’ll hold in the tears and be strong for everyone else, because that’s what being a mum means. But once everyone else is in bed, its another story!

I am lucky and blessed to have family and friends around me, and this is why I know I’ll get through the week. For them, for me, for the kids, and most of all because of Aaron. He taught me to be strong. And most of all, he would be very disappointed in me if I fell apart now.

xxxxx

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Heart Lessons  

Friday, 28 November 2008

Someone sent me this beautiful poem written by a lady called Brenda Conley, I wanted to share it with you.

“Heart Lessons”

When you look at my child
What do you see?
A child with limitations
Or disabilities?





When you look at my child
With his smile to behold
Will you find, as I do
His heart of gold?





When I look upon my child
With all his special needs
I look beyond the veil
That you might see





When you look at my child
Does your heart understand?
Or do you… simply look away
Without any… compassion at hand?





God makes no mistakes in this life
Everything… is for a reason
We can either open up our hearts and learn
Finding the sweetest of His blessings





When I look… upon my child
I see a heart filled with love
Kindness for all that he may meet
With a manner so gentle and mild
His beautiful smile to greet




When you look at my child… today
Will you just turn and walk away?
Never realizing what the moment
Could have held for you this day





When I look… upon my child
The Lord teaches me even more
Than He did just the day before
Showing me another blessing
An important chapter of this life
I like to call“Heart Lessons”



Brenda Conley © 2006

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NOT Smarter Than A Ten Year Old!  

I was looking forward to today. Deion’s school has an in-set day, so the two of us were going to have some quality time, a cosy day indoors playing games. Jordan and Robyn went of to school to cat calls of, “you’ve got school, suckers, I’m having a lay in.” But Deion told me to stop being mean!!!

So far, I’ve had my butt kicked at Connect Four, been annihilated at Black Jack and thrashed at Wii Tennis, I managed to scrape a win at Bowling, but only just.

So just to be mean, as Deion kept winning, I told him we had to do his homework..ha! Serves him right!

But now, I take it back everything I said about Robyn’s trigonometry. I have no problem being made to feel stupid when I don’t know the homework of a fourteen year old, I welcome it, it was certainly preferable to my ten year old asking me what a progressive pronoun was and being stuck for an answer…and me an author…how will I ever live it down.

Did we even learn this stuff at school????

So on to maths, I know I was good at maths, how hard can a ten year olds maths be right??? So give Deion a sum like, 1344-876 and he can do it in his head before I’ve even written the bloody thing down. And they do it so differently now, they don’t add from the units first and carry the tens like we learned. Kids nowadays can glance at the adding and subtraction problems, they start from the front and can get the answer at a glance.

We seem to be raising a whole generation of brain boxes, kids who can double as human calculators; it’s a conspiracy, devised to make parents feel stupid.

So now I’ve given in, I’m defeated, I’m letting him play some rubbish on the play station while I get a cup of tea and try to find some sort of adult learning, English and maths courses to enrol in!!!

Big sigh!

Sal xxxxx

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20 Questions, Revised!  

Thursday, 27 November 2008

The response and views of the 20 questions video has been brilliant. Now, since Trojan so kindly dropped me in at the deep end, I had no time to think about my answers. But now, after much deliberation, I have thought of something I should have said for every single answer. So I would like to revise my answers please:

Name: Wonder Woman

Place of birth: Whatever planet Wonder woman is from

Right or left handed: ambidextrous, ‘cos I’m that amazing

Shoes I wore today: the latest Jimmy Choo’s, as it is important to look glamorous at all times, even if only doing the housework or the school run

My weakness: I don’t have any.

Goals I want to achieve this year: world domination as far as the blogs are concerned

First thought on waking up: what a beautiful day, what can I achieve today.

Most missed memory: that really was too easy; it is Aaron’s big cuddles and sloppy kisses.

Chocolate or Vanilla: I don’t eat refined sugar; I only eat organic, healthy food. Ah hem!!!

Do I sing: Yes, I’m brilliant; I was considering going on X factor

Do I believe in myself: YES!

Country I’d most like to visit: Italy to make sure my children experience that part of their heritage, then Jamaica, for the same reasons.

What do I want to be when I grow up: Wonder Woman

MY FILM…I’ve finally got it, “it’s a wonderful life” with James Stewart, because I do sometimes wonder what my life would be like without Dave and the kids, and it’s a terrible thought, it reminds us to appreciate what and who we have, and it is a Christmas film, which is my favourite time of year…YAY!

My theme tune: the wonder woman theme tune (Mission Impossible’s a close second)

In a film of my life, who would play my husband: Denzel Washington, because he’s almost as good looking as Dave, although Dave is younger with a better body. (This should get me out of trouble)

Most precious childhood memory: okay I have millions, so I’ll leave that the same.

What am I most proud of: That’s still the kids, but I may leave Jordan out for accusing me of being old the other day!!!

If I could buy anything, what would I buy: a smaller arse and a flatter tummy….no, I’m kidding, I would set up a dolphin programme on an island, and we’d have our own, adapted accommodation, medical centre, staff and a retreat for parents….perfect…one day!

Colour that most describes me: I stand by my original answer, purple is my colour…so there Trojan!!

The most difficult question of all was “what film best describes you?” Now everyone around me is wondering about their own film. It’s not easy, and a couple of the answers have quite frankly been scary, I may be rethinking some of my friendships!

Some people have said Trojan should have asked more questions, so we’ll do another 20 questions in a few weeks, if there is something you want to know about me, then e-mail a question to phelix@blueyonder.co.uk and he can keep it a secret and surprise me…oh goody.

Also you can send me a list of your own answers to the questions, in writing or video, and we’ll post the best ones.

So if you haven’t seen the video blog already, click on and see what I really said….

Enjoy!

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Junk Mail  

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Today, I would like to thank Lewisham social services. I want to thank them for the letter that landed on my doormat today. A letter addressed to Aaron no less. It was a form to fill in, asking him how he is finding their services now that he is a disabled adult and is no longer in full time education.

It is exactly what I needed, especially as it’s his birthday next week. I wasn’t feeling quite bad enough about having to spend his special day without him, so thank goodness for their incompetence!

How can they not possibly know?

Tactless, thoughtless, idiotic are just a few of the words that spring to mind, the rest aren’t fit to print. This needs to be addressed as it is distressing and unnecessary. There is a special needs data base, at least one, and all the relevant people, agencies and authorities have been informed of Aarons passing. Yet, somehow, the letter still got sent.

So I rang them and told them to get their act together. And lets hope they do because the next one I’ll be hand delivering to the person who sent it and I’m going to make them eat the bloody thing!!!

Ridiculous!

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Pythagoras who?  

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Do we get less intelligent as we get older…or are kids just getting more intelligent?

Is it normal to be made to feel completely stupid by trying to help a fourteen year old with their homework?

I was bright at school, I passed all my exams, I consider myself and intelligent woman, I’ve read books on quantum physics and am smack bang in the middle of a psychology degree for goodness sakes.

So why when Robyn asked me to help her with her homework just now, did I end up chewing my lip and asking my fifteen year old to help her instead, because I couldn’t for the life of me remember Pythagoras’s theorem? I made a feeble excuse about having to get the washing on/washing up done/needing the loo (I hope they didn’t notice I was just making excuses!)

Of course Jordan made me feel much better by announcing that I couldn’t possibly be expected to remember something that I had learnt soooo long ago…thanks for that J.

Apparently losing brain cells even as we speak,

Sal xxxx

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Fact and Fiction  

Thank you for your e-mails through the book site. And thank you to all the people clicking on and buying Aaron’s book, I’m very happy that more and more people are getting to know him.

And to answer your questions…

“Yes I am writing fiction too.”

“I find the time at night usually; when everyone else is sound asleep in bed like normal people.”

“They are generally popular women’s fiction, humorous, with a bit of crime thrown in for good measure.”

“I have no clue where the ideas come from; I guess I have a quirky mind and a good imagination.”

“Ermmm…no I’m definitely not rich!”

I have always written stories for as far back as I can remember, I used to love English at school. As I got older there were far more important things to do, like, partying, fashionable clothes, trying out make-up and discovering boys. Then as I got older still, there were even more things to do, like working (and partying, fashionable clothes, make-up and boys).

Then of course, move on a couple of years, and there was parenting, housework, hospitals and sleepless nights. I wouldn’t have known what the fashion was if it had jumped up and bitten me on the arse, and I wouldn’t have been able to locate my make-up bag if you paid me. And believe me, if you’d have caught sight of me at times back then, you probably would have paid me to slap an a bit of blusher!!!

So writing, like all other hobbies became unimportant compared to being a mum. We were busy concentrating on the kids and making a home and family, and all my time and energy only went into that. Besides, if I ever got a moment to myself, I would have spent it sleeping I can assure you.

After Aaron passed away, I wrote his book, and I think it reminded me of how much I got out of writing. So I didn’t stop, I wrote second book for Aaron, and several novels. To me, writing is relaxing, it’s expressive, and the best bit of all, is that as a fictional character in a book; you can be whoever you want, say whatever you want, about anyone you want. It’s very cathartic.

I love to read, I read anything I can get my hands on from psychology books, to autobiographies, to historical fiction to popular women’s fiction. It’s a way of unwinding for me. And I love it if a book can make me laugh. So my aim was to write books that could do that, let someone escape real life for a while, and make them smile. It’s not life changing, change the world writing or anything, but they might change someone's mood or their day.

You can go to http://www.sallyannestephenson.com/ to read the book synopsis’s.

Happy reading,

Sal xxxx

P.S. Any likeness or resemblance when describing events and characters…is totally intentional!!!

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Endless Form Filling!  

Monday, 24 November 2008

I would like to hunt down the person who invented the Disability Living Allowance forms. Then I would like to lock them in a room and make them write ten million lines, something to the effect of, “I will not ask endless, inane questions over and over again.”

I have just spent the last three hours filling in Deion’s DLA forms…and as you may have noticed, I’m not all that impressed about it.

Deion has cerebral Palsy, its not curable, its not going to go away. Barring a miracle he isn’t going to suddenly leap from his wheelchair and announce he can walk. As much as we wish it would happen. And if it did, I can assure you I would ring the DLA people and gladly tell them we no longer needed it. But I still have to fill in the forms. Can’t they just send a single page form to ask if anything’s changed, a phone call even…no, too simple. Even better, if a child has an illness that cannot improve, just leave them alone.

I think they make it difficult on purpose, they must do…I have just answered the same question, asked in four different ways…“does you child need to be changed in the night, and if so how many times, and how minutes does this take, and how many nights per week it is needed?” now, sorry to say, I don’t time this to the second, nor do I time how long it takes me to reposition him in the night, get his pyjamas on or change his sheets should they need it. And NO, I don’t always know how many times I get up in the night, it is often a blur. And when am I even counting from, a normal person’s bedtime, or my bedtime???

The forms are quite frankly ridiculous, they want to know how long things take to the minute, not taking into account that the time for everything varies continually depending on so many things. They are kind enough to say you can estimate it…thank goodness, otherwise we might feel we need to stand with a stop watch trying to improve our times when flushing gastro tubes or changing nappies!

I understand people abuse the system at times and I understand they need details, but proof of a disability, and what it entails should be enough for them to work out the rest. I bet I could ask a dozen questions and get the relevant information. And I wouldn’t ask someone how long it takes to cut up their child’s food, simply saying a child needs assistance at meal times should be enough.

These endless forms need to be simplified. Yes, proof from doctors about a disability, we expect to have to provide. But the rest of it is endless, time consuming, and frustrating. Contrary to what people may think, spelling out every single aspect of our child’s disability over and over again in the minutest detail isn’t all that nice. Even though Deion is a wheelchair user, the forms still require me to fill in the parts that say, ‘no’ he cannot walk one step, ten yards, a hundred yards or further, ‘no’ he cannot get in and out of the bath and ‘no’ cannot go upstairs unaided. Hence the wheelchair people!!!

And sadly, they make it just as hard for you to stop claiming DLA…

When Aaron passed away, I phoned them to inform them, and they wanted proof, I asked her if she was joking, but she said no, and that they wouldn’t stop paying unless I sent proof. I offered to send a signed letter, but it wasn’t enough, they wanted the death certificate, the original no less. I refused to send this, and told her that I was happy for them to continue paying the DLA in that case…and I did put it in writing. Funnily enough, they did manage to figure out how to stop the money without the adequate paperwork.

Every time I fill in the DLA forms, I send them back with a short letter explaining my views, and I have no doubt it goes straight in the trash, maybe if more people did complain, they might take some notice. It wouldn’t even take that long to revise the forms to make them ‘friendlier’ and think of the money they would save…and think of the benefits to the environment, not only could they halve the size of the 40+ page form at least…they could also do away with the extra bulky booklet that tells you how to fill in the form in the first place. If it was simplified, they wouldn’t need a booklet! And quite frankly the booklet just makes it more confusing than ever.

This is a conversation I’ve had with many of my friends, and we all put in out little letter of complaint every time we return our forms, so perhaps you’d like to join us, you never know it might just help. It certainly makes you feel less passive about it I promise.

Take care

Sal xxx

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Immortalised in Print.  

Sunday, 23 November 2008



After Aaron passed away, I found myself sitting for hours at a time going over and over everything in my head; I was trying to remember every moment of his life in the tiniest detail. People thought I was sitting grieving, staring into space, maybe just thinking about the loss, or maybe just crying, letting the tears fall, and sometimes that was the case. But really, I was trying to recall it all, I wanted it all committed to memory so solidly, because I was terrified I was going to forget something, I couldn’t bear to forget the tiniest thing about Aaron and our precious time together.

The more people that came round, the more we spoke about Aaron, and it was then that we realised that not everyone knew everything about Aaron, everyone knew Aaron at different stages of his life, so some people never knew he could walk up until he was seven, some never knew that he was born with a cleft palate, and had to have a tracheotomy to breathe after they repaired it.

So I decided, to write it all down. At first it was just for me, it was therapeutic, it gave me something tangible to hold on to and to do, it’s not like I was sleeping anyway, no matter what the doctor gave me, I couldn’t bear to close my eyes. Maybe because I knew that in that second I woke up, I was going to be oblivious, and then it would hit me like a ton of bricks all over again. So when everyone else was getting their fitful nights sleep, I sat at the computer and wrote, and wrote and wrote…and once it was down on paper, I could stop obsessing about that particular event because it was tangibly on paper.

But the more I wrote, the more I realised how inspirational Aaron is. We all know that, of course, we lived with him; I doubt I will ever meet a stronger or more determined person as long as I live. But I realised that he had so many lessons to teach others too. So it naturally progressed into a book.

I surprised even myself when I remembered everything in so much detail. And one thing I am so grateful for is that we had such a close and intense relationship. Aaron and I were inseparable, and how many mums can say they have that much quality time with their 12/13/14 year old, I know Jordan and Robyn are more independent, they hardly need me at all…but Aaron needed me, and even if at times that was hard, and exhausting, I am so glad now I can’t tell you. It means that we got to cram in far more love and quality time than most mothers and sons do.

The book is not all doom and gloom, honestly, nothing written about Aaron could be. There are some bits that are hard to get through, there are some bits that will undoubtedly make you cry, but you will laugh as much as you cry, I promise. Aaron was a character; he lived life to the max every day, and embodied the meaning of the word love. When you looked at Aaron, you saw the love shine out of him, in his eyes there was just total acceptance, and he was happy just to be with you. A true angel on earth and it’s not just me as his mum that has said that, it has been said by hundreds of people. And anyone who ever got a hug from him with never forget it, mainly because his hugs were like across between the Heimlich manoeuvre and a half nelson…but he meant them, you certainly knew he meant it as the oxygen flow was cut off and your eyeballs started to bulge.

God I miss those hugs the most. I would probably give everything I own for just one more of Aarons hugs. And I would cling on to him and cherish it, because this time I would know it would be the last one. I wonder sometimes if I didn’t cling on enough in that last hug I gave Aaron before he passed away, how was I to know it would be the last one? If I’d of known that I would have clung on and never let go.

I know Aaron book has helped lots of people, many families are gaining hope and strength form Aaron and his amazing character. The book is real and honest and it answers the questions that no-one dared ask me at the time, and since to some extent.

Trojan created a short book trailer yesterday, so if you think this is something for you, then you can find it on www.sallyannestephenson.com, Barnes & Noble or on Amazon.


I hope you enjoy it, I hope Aaron’s strength shines through to you.

Take care

Sal xxx

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20 Questions  



Trojan had another one of his bright ideas yesterday, and decided to fire 20 quick questions at me with no warning and no time for me to think of good and acceptable (maybe less honest I’ll admit, answers). So here are the results, you may find out a few things about me that you didn’t know, maybe a few that you didn’t want to know.

It was actually very funny; it was a lot of pressure, saying the first thing that comes into your head isn’t always the best idea…as you will see. And Trojan sitting to the side reacting to my answers didn’t help. And no, there was no violence involved at the end; I was just defending my answer!!!

And he was a total meanie; he wouldn’t let me redo any of the really cringy answers. Mark my words; I’m going to think of a way to get my own back…

Hope you enjoy,

Trojan & Sally xxxxx

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Missing Wheels  

Saturday, 22 November 2008


I had to give a statement to the police yesterday, some reprobate made off with my spare wheel…again! This is getting ridiculous; they surely can’t be worth very much on the black market. You don’t often see people on street corners accosting passers by to see if they want to buy a fiat wheel! It’s going to be two trips to the (not so local) dealer to get the wheel replaced now; quite frankly I don’t need the hassle.

I was quite embarrassed to phone the police station and report it. Motabilty won’t replace the wheel without a crime number, you can’t get a crime number until you’ve reported it, so over one spare van wheel, I spent ages on the phone, twice, giving details, phone numbers, number plates, vehicle colour, e.t.c. and two police officers had to pay a visit to my house.

I’m pretty sure every one of them was thinking they had far better things to do that to hunt down a rogue fiat wheel thief, and who could blame them.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, that’s two spare wheels and a stolen stereo in total. Also, a long while ago someone bizarrely broke into the car to steal Aarons oxygen cylinder, proving that people really will steal anything. I had to report that too so that I wouldn’t be responsible for replacing it. Again, hassle I didn’t need. And the policeman was pretty confused too, when you report stolen items, they have a list with and item number by it, no surprises for guessing that an oxygen cylinder wasn’t on his list. He scratched his head for a while as we both scanned the list and settled on first aid kit as ‘items stolen.’

Now, one could argue that it is total inconsideration that a thief would target a disabled vehicle, after all our van is very clearly a disabled vehicle, in a disabled bay and covered in various stickers to prove it. And there is certainly enough to worry about without someone making life even more difficult.

On the other hand is there any such a thing as a considerate thief, I doubt the thief was considering the victim and/or their limitations for a second as he crawled under the car and nicked the wheel.

And after all, I’m always shouting about us not being treated differently just because of disability issues, should I be pleased that we have been treated just as badly as anyone else. We were not discriminated against in this case; the thief couldn’t care less about the physical disability of the wheel owner.

So what should we be most concerned about, the fact that someone is totally thoughtless and is willing to steal from some of the most vulnerable people in our society, concerned in general that there is no respect across the board, that people will steal anything from anyone, or should we be glad that our vehicles are not singled out and left alone simply because they display a blue badge???

It just got me thinking, that’s all. What do you think?

So yes, it is annoying for everyone, it’s called petty crime, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a wheel, it replaceable. But it doesn’t feel petty when you’re taking half a day to sort it out, its still people taking something that doesn’t belong to them.


Hoping today’s crime free!

Sal xxx

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Man Flu!  

Friday, 21 November 2008

For years I doubted the phenomenon which is Man Flu, but I can no longer deny it as a real illness.

I am more shattered than usual today, run ragged, exhausted from the demands made upon me. Yep Deion has ‘Man Flu’…he may only be ten years old, but the symptoms are all there.

On the outside, and from a medical point of view it would seem that Deion has only the same virus that Robyn and I both had recently. Yes it was horrid, yes it took us two days to get over it, but in Deion’s own words, “you and Robyn can’t have had it as bad as me mum.” It seems that no-one has ever suffered as much in the history of the world.

He has a bit of a temperature, a bit of a headache and a sore throat…things that don’t seem to debilitating when occurring in a girl…but they are causing Deion to suffer greatly. He has been on the sofa for two days straight, wrapped in a quilt, watching TV (quietly as not to hurt his head), eating only the most yummy (because its easier to swallow) foods, drinking lots of fluids (doctors orders), and demanding I leap up and get anything he might need or the TV control should it be slightly too far away for him to pick up without reaching for it…

“You don’t know what its like,” he said. And, funnily enough, this same thing is said to me every time Jordan or Dave have had the same mild cold….sorry, “Man Flu!”

So Man flu, the most deadly disease known to mankind. How could a woman understand? Thank goodness we have nothing so awful to have to contend with, I’m sure the excruciating pain of child birth, periods, hysterectomies’, are nothing compared to MAN FLU!!!

Right, better go, Deion needs ice cream to ease the terrible pain in his slightly pinkened throat!!

Take care, wrap up warm, you don’t want this illness.

Sal xxx

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Murder On The Dancefloor!!!  

Thursday, 20 November 2008



I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been watching our latest video. It's had the best number of views yet. I have had an extraordinary number of e-mails and comments with LOL in them. Also if one more person calls me Ginger Rogers or quotes ‘Nobody puts baby in a corner,’ I may have to scream. IT’S NOT ORIGINAL, everyone’s doing it. And I’m really trying not to take offense that so many people are saying ‘Trojan’s really good is't he, has he done it before?’...erm...helloo.what about me???

You wait, next time we video ourselves I’m going to be in full evening wear and heels...I’m better in heels...I promise.

But the one thing people are consistently saying is that it looks like we are having loads of fun, and we are; which is what matters most, after all, that’s what it’s all about. So if you haven’t seen it already, take a look, it will make you smile if nothing else. We may not be competition level exactly! YET! But watch this space!

Take care

Sal & Trojan xxxx

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Happy Birthday  

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Happy Birthday to Trojan, today is his twenty first birthday...again!!! I'm kidding, but I'm not sure how he feels about revealing his true age...but I think you'll agree, he looks great for seventy two!! (now he really will kill me). You are a true friend and a brillinat dance/blog/video/radio show partner....Hope you have a lovely birthday Trojan, and many many more to come. x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

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Traffic W*#”!*’s  

I would just like to send my commiserations to the traffic warden who missed out on a commission today. It’s a good job I forgot to lock the car door; otherwise I wouldn’t have seen the attempted delivery of an unfair parking ticket.

A traffic warden was standing on the curb when I parked in a disabled bay, set the badge to the appropriate time, placed it on the dashboard and got out. The traffic warden saw me unload Deion in his wheelchair, saw me put the ramp back up and watched as we began to walk away. Luckily we had to return after a few steps as I realised that I forgot to lock the doors.

I was surprised when I saw the warden punching my number plate into his little machine of his…the same machine I was tempted to take off of him and place somewhere safe, somewhere that would have required a trip to the hospital to have it surgically removed.

I asked him what he thought he was doing, he ignored me, I asked him louder and pointed to the badge. “It’s upside down,” he said in a bored tone. Actually the badge was sideways, but surely that’s not the point. The expiry date, the time and the number were all clearly visible, even if the poor traffic warden would have had to perform the hard task of tilting his head 30 degrees to the left to check that. I guess it was unreasonable for me to expect such a thing.

The truth is, I didn’t know that the badge had to be upright; I thought as long as you could see it, that was good enough.

Anyway, I turned it so that it was perfectly upright, took the names of a couple of passers by who had stopped to gawk in amazement at the tactless traffic warden just in case I ended up with a ticket in the post anyway. And I think he decided to cut his losses and he walked/stalked off up the road in search of another four wheeled victim.

It would be interesting to know though just how many tickets have been issued in this way, and if people are paying them.

How ridiculous. I drive a HUGE adapted vehicle with a bloody great electric wheelchair lift, there are about thirty stickers warning anyone not to park within 8 feet to allow the ramp deployment and wheelchair access. I have enough to think about without having to become paranoid that my disabled badge is at an exact ninety degree angle to the dash board should some idiot come along and slap a ticket on just for the hell of it.

Is it any wonder that Traffic wardens are some of the most hated people on earth, be honest we all put their job title right up there with serial killers, armed robbers and politicians, I’ve never met a nice one and I don’t think I’ve heard anything nice ever said about one.

Aarrghhh!

Sal xxx

p.s That does say Traffic Wardens in the title by the way…what were you thinking? Traffic Warden is enough of a swear word, I didn’t need to elaborate!

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Dyslexia!  

My daughter Robyn has dyslexia, but she does not let it get in her way...in fact Robyn lets nothing get in the way of what she wants, but that’s another story entirely.

When she was younger, spelling tests were hard for her, but she would work and work at it every week to ensure a good mark. On the one occasion a class mate suggested her 15 out of 20 mark was because her dyslexia made her stooopid, she asked him what he got, he didn’t want to tell her, but upon seeing his 12 out of 20 mark, she flicked her hair over her shoulder and said “you wish you had dyslexia”.

So no problems with it making her feel inadequate then.

Robyn is the inspiration behind the dyslexia range of t-shirts, and is single handled responsible for raising awareness within her school and her peer group. She makes sure anyone with dyslexia has a shirt to show how proud they are. And as Robyn says “I can’t be good at everything mum!” or if Dave or I make a spelling mistake, Robyn will say “and I’m the one with dyslexia!” with a roll of her eyes. You may smile, but its not always cute, sometimes it’s a little embarrassing.

In Robyn’s own words, “In the grand scheme of things, it’s hardly a big deal is it!” I guess having brothers with far greater special needs helped to put things in perspective for her.

Robyn knows that her dyslexia not make her stupid/or stooopid, she knows that with hard work, she can do just as well, if not better than most others. So she knows that if she can have dyslexia and get the same results, she must be even more intelligent…I second that. Imagine simply reading a book or the newspaper and before you even start, you need to decipher some sort of jumbled up code…would we just give up and watch the news or a DVD instead, after all, its hardly relaxing if your fighting to understand words is it.

And if you were in your early teens, would you have continually struggled with your school work, or would you have given up, even messed about, and like thousands of kids have been labelled a problem child and let the education system wash its hands of you…how would that effect your future?

This is one of the reasons kids with dyslexia get left behind, and one of the reasons that kids and their parents love the slogans so much. Times are changing now, dyslexia, like many special needs is widely recognised, there’s no stigma attached to it, and there is help available in every school. For example, arrangements can be made so that your child can have extra time for their exams and most schools provide extra help in English and literature.

There’s a British Dyslexia Association for help and advice should you need it…go to http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/ for information about getting exactly what you need.

The onus lies on us as parents to make sure our kids are secure and confident and know that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. Charleze Theron, Einstein, Hans christen Anderson, Magic Johnson, Agatha Christie, Richard Branson, Keanu Reeves, Jamie Oliver…all dyslexia sufferers, it didn’t seem to hold them back.

So Robyn wanted you to know this, and she also wanted you to know that I use spell check more than she does…cheeky!

Take care

Sal & Robyn

P.S. Since writing this blog someone left a comment to say that www.causesofdyslexia.com is a very informative site. He was right, so check it out.



xxx

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