Going the Extra Mile – Adam’s Story
Adam Guest is running a ‘Big Running Challenge’ in support of I CAN and his daughter Elsie who has speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). Read why he’s so passionate about bringing awareness to this important issue and why he selected I CAN as his chosen charity for this huge physical test.
What was the inspiration behind your Big Running Challenge and how did you come up with the idea?
I started running to lose weight, however in the last couple of years, I’ve actually come to enjoy it. I’ve now completed two marathons, London and Paris, which were great. I wanted to do more.
I wanted to choose a charity that meant something to me personally.
It just so happened that a couple of days earlier I had been on the I CAN website because my daughter Elsie, who’s three in September has struggled with her speech. I read the stories about other children, which have been a fantastic reassurance to me.
I thought that doing something for Elsie’s speech development would be brilliant. It just so happened that there were spaces on the London Marathon next year so I successfully applied.
I thought I could raise money running in all five marathons I was running in for my Big Running Challenge and raise money for I CAN, raising awareness amongst my colleagues and friends in the process. It all happened accidentally and it grew from there.
How did you go about finding help for Elsie?
We’d been through all the local support channels and they’ve all been really relaxed about it. They’ve said stuff like “it’ll come in time, you don’t need to worry about it, it’ll happen”. We said if Elsie was still struggling at two, then we’d do something about it. By the time she was two, she hadn’t progressed so I started to worry.
I looked on the internet for tips and tools. I didn’t realise how common it was for children to have speech and language difficulties. I spent hours one evening on the I CAN website reading stories, watching videos and reading the development plans.
When I wanted to do the marathon, I wanted to do something that meant a lot to me and Elsie means the world to me.
I worry when I’m out with her and with friends that haven’t got children that because she struggles with speaking they might think she’s not very smart. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
She’s intelligent, sweet and a loving girl, she just struggles to speak. If I was going to help a cause, it would be to show people that this is normal and can happen to anyone. That’s what drew me to I CAN.
Which I CAN resource did you find most useful and how do you see your relationship with I CAN going forward?
There was one tool which involved getting Elsie to add adjectives to sentences, so instead of saying “I want an apple”, she has to say, “I want a shiny apple or a red apple” so that was building more words into sentences. It’s improved the amount of words she can fit together in one go.
I’ve also worked on showing Elsie that I’m listening to her. Even if I can’t understand her, I need to show I’m paying attention to what she’s trying to say.
We’ll be using I CAN more and more as Elsie develops. One of the things that’s important to us is not just using the resources we have when she’s two or three when she’s learning to speak. We want to keep using the resources even after she starts speaking.
As more of my friends and family start to have children, I’d like to be that person they can speak to if they’re worried about their own children and let them know that the problem doesn’t just fix itself. We didn’t have anyone we could turn to when we were going through it, we just had a lot of people saying, “don’t worry, it’ll sort itself out, it’ll be fine”.
Why is it important more people know about SLCN?
It’s important to show that speech and language difficulties aren’t just reserved for children with learning difficulties.
The earlier that people can identify that their child has difficulties and not think of it as something that reflects badly on them or their child, the better. People should feel able to ask for help to support them as it’s so worth doing. That will help give their child the best possible start.
Adam ‘s ‘Big Running Challenge’ will see him take part in marathons across New York City (2018), Manchester, London, Hampshire Hoppit Marathons and Thunder Run in 2019 all in support of I CAN. If you’d like to support Adam, visit his JustGiving page. You can also follow him on Twitter to keep up to date with his progress.
Adam will be writing more blogs to track his improvement so keep an eye out for more content going forward!
If you’re interested in raising awareness and funds for children with SLCN like Adam, get in touch with Lina Santeusanio in our Philanthropy team at firstname.lastname@example.org/020 7843 2551.