Steve Palmer's blog about his son Stanley - who has Down's Syndrome - & the extended family. All about Down Syndrome and learning disability.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Holidays and better days

As the rock flew towards the woman, several thoughts should have gone through my head; why did we come to this beach when Stan hates it?; will the rock, picked up from the seabed by a very unhappy boy, cut her forehead or knock her out?; when can we leave? But I had no thoughts. I was rigid with panic.

I want to talk about two incidents that show the two sides of our Stanley. How he can prove the critics wrong and put in a star performance and how he can push us to the bring of prosecution and hospital bills.

So, the good news or the bad news first?

I usually like to get the bad news out of the way, but, if I do, you won't be teased into reading the good news. Which was amazing. My colleague Nasa Begum died in May and for religious reasons her commemoration wasn't until July. It was held at the Graeae Theatre in East London, famous for promoting arts for disabled people. So I thought it may be a good idea to take Stan. Stan and Nasa never met, which is a pity, because they would have made a fantastic combination.

But I was nervous because there were speeches on the menu and so I planned to "show and go" just in case he only lasted 20 minutes. But he was amazing; he sat through all of the speeches, in front of my colleagues. He marvelled at the Bhangra dancing and then did a quick show himself. And he didn't hit anyone, throw anything at anyone or upset anyone. He was amazingly behaved for three hours. It was a special moment for me as I was relieved that Nasa's memorial wasn't disrupted. It was important to take him. Nasa always used to ask me about him, with a glint in her eye.

So when we were on that beach in France, I couldn't help thinking of how well he'd behaved at the theatre. He hated the beach with a passion but his bro wanted to go, so we were trying to please all the people all the time. (Instead of "keeping it simple" - learning disability holiday rule #1). The rock didn't hit the woman. It got mighty close - yet she didn't even see it as she was distracted before the near-moment of contact. Stan knocked a two-year-old over; he found the man on the beach most likely to react badly to having sand kicked in his face - then kicked sand in his face. Everyone was staring and in the end we were up and off to a safer destination. Stan's bro was compensated handsomely.

Why the change in behaviour? The Mrs reckons it's because at Nasa's do, he didn't know if he was ALLOWED to misbehave. He was out of his comfort zone and so....behaved. On the beach, where we've been before, he was acquainted with all the big red buttons he could press.

The beach we can leave and never ever ever go back to. Nasa's memorial is a happy memory and I hope that Stan was able to add a bit of spark to proceedings without trashing them. I can hear Nasa laughing her head off now..............

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