All children, at some time in their development will fall out of kilter with their peers. Whether it is when they start to walk, talk, read or write or maybe when they begin to grasp the subtlety of social communication and interaction, children develop at different rates. Children are normalised by society on a percentile for physical growth, reasoning or social communication and this may that mean they are able to function well in all aspects of life; in both the social and academic arenas. For some children however, because of their uniqueness, life can be tough.
For Felix, his diagnosis means that both socially and academically his development will be hindered. The change in his appearance, his risk to infection, the effects of the chemotherapy, long periods in hospital and isolation from peers will all, in some way affect him. It has had an impact on his confidence, it does affect his attendance at school and his ability to engage in social activities. However, whilst there may be long-term effects, where we are at the moment is temporary. His appearance will return to as it was, his resistance to infection will improve, chemotherapy will reduce and one day cease and he will return to school full-time.
For some children, their battles are not temporary; they are permanent and life long. They also deserve compassion, support and love. The uniqueness of children means that for some, their battle is invisible and so is that of their family. A physical or sensory disability may mean that a family may have to constantly fight for their child’s access to education, their child’s right to suitable accommodation or the ability to go shopping and socialise with their peers. How do we know if a child has social, emotional or mental health needs? In the background, their parents/carers may be fighting for appropriate medical support or specialist provision to support the child’s learning and progress. For children with communication difficulties or a dyslexia or dyscalculia diagnosis, school and the world around them can be confusing, intimidating and daunting. Parents/carers and families may be constantly fighting for equality and fairness for their children. But most of these children do engage in both the social and acadamic arenas and do so succesfully. The children and their families develop amazing coping skills and resilience to continue to fight and battle for what their children deserve.
They are the apple of our eyes.