She makes me smile!

My 10 year old Yasmin is so excited to be going on holidays soon. She loves all the excitement of going on a plane journey. She is counting down the days and her suitcase is ready to go!
She will rise early every morning in eagerness to being a day closer!
We have been very fortunate in life to be able to visit our family in the USA every year. But it’s a long journey for children and the restricted seats are small and uncomfortable.
Yasmin was born with a delayed mental development. She didn’t crawl till 15 months, she walked at 20 months and her speech was very poor up till age five.
I wasn’t overly concerned about this late development because my previous daughter Sarah (almost 20 now) had been diagnosed with dyslexia. She was also a late developer but had met all of her milestones normally enough. I thought Yasmin was going to be the same.
I was however concerned about Yasmin’s temper tantrums from an early age, especially in the car. She had severe motion sickness from about 11 months of age and she would also start screaming crying for no apparent reason. When she was three I felt her behaviour was very like ADHD. She never sat still and she was very impulsive. She had many accidents and broken joints before she was even five years of age! She also never seemed to hear me!
 At this point, (she was about four years old) I rang the ADHD helpline and got some great advise from them, which I put into practice straight away and there was an immediate improvement.
When Yasmin was finally diagnosed with Dyspraxia at age five, it explained a lot. Inside this diagnosis, Yasmin had a severe language and comprehension disorder, (she didn’t understand what was going on around her) She had a severe sensory disorder, which meant, everything hurt her, smells made her sick, water hurt her skin among lots of other things. I think the sensory problems caused me the most upset because they really pained Yasmin!
She had a muscular coordination difficulty which made her body uncomfortable and clumsy.
And that was just the physical element.
 Yasmin also had dyslexia and dyscalculia, quite severe on the spectrum of learning difficulties.
So, she had a lot going on, but she looked like any other child so no one could really tell.
So plane journeys were something that always had me in tears, but not from my beautiful child. From other passengers.
People on the plane always had a comment to make or a disgusted glare directed at me, because I guess  we bothered them!
Yasmin was hyper yes, she was easily upset, yes, but I was right there beside her, coloring, drawing, playing play dough, walking her up and down the isles! Under no circumstances would I allow her kick the chair in frustration or be loud or rude to me or others on the plane or elsewhere for that matter!
But I was saddened. I wanted people to see my little girl for the beautiful child that she was. (I wrote my poem, My Beautiful child, because I couldn’t understand why people didn’t see her beauty and indeed other disabled people’s beauty). You might understand young people not having patients for children, but these were mostly people in their late sixties.
Anyway, myself and my husband got every help we could for Yasmin, expensive help and some free from the HSE. Yasmin and I had to do an awful lot of work at home and I have seen the benefits of this and all of the outside help. Yasmin is an amazing child, no more amazing than all of the other children out there I know, but to me, she is my inspiration. Almost 11 now, she is really tall and her body is starting puberty. She is behind her mental age of maturity. I think she is about 6/7 maybe. She can read, she can write and she can do sums as a seven year old. And she can ride her pony Eclipse beautifully!
A keen outdoor person myself, I was worried that Yasmin wouldn’t be able to participate in sports of any kind. I needn’t have worried! Through Yasmin’s own choice, over the last five years, she tried hip hop, ballet, drama, guitar, swimming and singing. But finally said to me recently, “Mam, horse riding is my passion!”
She’s such a great girl! And you know? Horse riding is a very good exercise for children with any or no difficulties as it strengthens their muscles!
Anyway, I am very grateful for my gift from God, who turned my life around! And I really want her to have a great plane journey, so if you are reading this out there, will you think again when you sit in your seat beside an exhausted mother and her busy child. A little bit of understanding goes a long way.
xx Jean

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