Jane Holmes' Blog: Parents of disabled children learn what life is all aboutBy Hugh Fort
February 11, 2013
Jane Holmes is chief executive of Wokingham-based charity Building for the Future which provides support and activities for disabled children.
She set up the charity after her daughter Kitty was born with severe cerebral palsy
I read a statistic on the internet today that in America, between 30 and 40 per cent of fostered children have special educational needs.
I can't imagine things are much different here and so it's not difficult to extrapolate that there are more parents of disabled children who are less able to cope than parents of other children.
Fostering or adoption is something that has always really appealed to me.
The thought of giving a child a loving home and a family to include them and value them seems to me to be not only a deeply fulfilling prospect, but also eminently sensible in this overstretched society.
With so many disabled children needing foster care or adoption, to give one a home would be an obvious move for us.
Knowing how rewarding raising a disabled child is and how much they need a family to fight their corner perhaps best positions a family like ours which already has a child with special needs and really knows the score.
Sad, though, that there are so many of them who need families and homes.
Every situation is different and I don't want to judge.
But whatever the reason, it is to me a great tragedy that their families won't, usually through no fault of their own, know the joy of bringing up a disabled child, or know how life-changing it is and how positive.
I am not going to lie.
It is incredibly hard work. A lot more family support is needed than average, but it is out there.
Life will never be conventional again.
But where does being conventional get you, anyway?
People will stare at you, but so what?
Your pride will easily override any discomfort you may feel.
You will have to fight, hard, pretty much every day.
But that will teach you strength and persistence.
You will sometimes be sleep deprived, but you will catch up and anyway, you get used to it.
But you will also learn what life is all about.
What is really important and what it's all for. What greater privilege can there be than that?