You wouldn’t think a mum would cherish the words “you can go now”. But when my daughter said that to me, I knew she’d found a place she felt safe. A place where she didn’t feel singled-out or self-conscious. She wasn’t going to be asked to do anything a wheelchair user can’t do because she was in a room full of wheelchair users. That showed me how far her confidence has come.
My daughter is such a naturally funny girl. She’s very honest, quirky and quite engaging. A little bit bossy, even! But at school, she’s the only one in a wheelchair. She has no independent mobility. She dreads being asked why.
Coming to Crann has given her a place to make friends who also have neuro-physical disabilities – through the drama club or the parties at Halloween and Christmas. When they are together, no one is singling them out. The children here are very supportive of each other.
I do think she struggles sometimes. She might say, “I wish I didn’t have a wheelchair”. As a parent, being able to mention her friends and talk about other children’s experiences helps her realise she isn’t on her own.
She has made friends for the present, but also the future. That’s a huge thing. I dream of her, one day, going out to the cinema and a pizza afterwards. Or, who knows, even living with her friends.
There isn’t another organisation I know of that is doing what Crann do. They’re very welcoming and the building itself is great. There is no doubt that they change lives for the better here. It’s just brilliant for all the children.
Back to those words I started with. My daughter said I could go and, as I walked out of the room, I was overjoyed at how happy she was with her lovely group of friends. That’s the gift Crann have given our family. I can’t thank them enough.