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

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Sledgehammers, heroes and graduation.........

Half way through Stan's leavers' assembly - just after it hit me like a sledgehammer between the eyes that he was about to leave Holly Park School - I caught sight of two heroes. I've spoken before about heroes. Like Dr Victor Tsang and his team, who saved Stan's life. Like James O'Connor, who scored a special Stoke goal and gave me the strength to take on this life with Stanley Matthew Palmer. 

If Victor and James gave Stan his strategic direction, his headmaster John and learning support assistants, Ann - and Sarah Gregson - got stuck into the "to do" list and took that strategy in a day-to-day direction. Remember, Holly Park is a mainstream school and we had no idea, back in 2005, what would happen. But Stan's brother and cousins were there and it was important he went there too. 

Many staff and pupils at Holly Park - for eight years - have contributed so much to Stan's life and he's given back. One card he received said just that. So thanks to everyone. 

But thanks especially to those three people. In the emotional assembly, I caught John and Ann's eyes and glimpsed eight years of passion that's been channelled into my son's education. I wish Sarah could have been there today to see him 'graduate'. 

The irony is that John also left the school today. Job done.

Just to spell this out so I'm absolutely clear. Those three people have joined the list that started with Victor and James. 

Friends for life. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Sweet shops, chromosomes and parenthood

That letter to the i - the 20p version of the Independent - which is not yet published. 

Your story about Down's Syndrome suggests "chromosome therapy" in the future;  
I tweeted "A cure! Oh, small print says 'decades of research'........never mind". Because, while we wait for a pill that may or may not help my son, Stan,  we're attending to the day-to-day tasks. Also, parenthood is not like being in a sweet shop; every person is different.  Stan's funny and irritating, stubborn and gorgeous. And he leaves his mainstream primary school next week, where he’s added so much to the lives of everyone there.  I'd probably ask him to take a magic pill, but I'm not hanging onto the hope of one soon. We're just getting on with it. 

Down's Dad. 

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