Guest blog from Henry Grafton-Grattan
This year I am running the London Marathon and my wife Susie is running the Bath Half Marathon. Not wanting to miss out, our two boys, Angus and Rory, along with granny and granddad, will also be doing the Family Fun Run at Bath.
This is in part a response to a midlife crisis as we both hit 40 this year, but more than anything, it’s about increasing awareness of communication difficulties in children and hopefully raising much needed funds that can make a real difference.
We are running for I CAN because our son Angus, who is nearly 6, cannot speak. Whilst he tries so hard, something that comes naturally to us is impossible for him. We have seen many specialist and doctors with Angus but it is still not entirely clear what the cause of his very severe speech disorder is.
So we wanted to do something that we’d find really hard. We’re not runners – last summer we would have struggled to run for the bus!
But running a half marathon, a full marathon or even a double marathon will be far easier than what Angus has to face every single day. Try not talking for an hour, and only communicating through basic signs. Frustrating? Now extend that hour to a day, a day to a week, a week to a month and so on. It would be impossible. We cannot begin to imagine how difficult it is for Angus every day when he goes to his school, to the playground, out for a walk, or settles into bed at the end of a day, as he struggles to make himself understood or in any way interact with his peers.
But we know that we are fortunate in many ways. Angus has a very loving and supportive family, grandparents and friends. He attends a specialist speech and language school that are giving him the best chance of learning to talk. We don’t get it right every time, but we feel lucky that we have the resources to fight Angus’ corner and get the input he desperately needs.
This is not always the case and many children are not getting the input they need. So we’re running in support of I CAN, the children’s communication charity which strives to ensure that no child who struggles to communicate gets left out or left behind.
Angus’ issues are severe but latest research shows that 1 in 10 children in the UK – 2 or 3 children in every classroom -have communication difficulties that require specialist help.
We’re hoping to make a real difference to children who struggle to communicate, and the families who struggle to find the answers for their children.
To support Henry, Susie, Angus and the rest of the family in their challenges, please sponsor them generously at www.justgiving.com/GGs.