Parents’ thoughts from the 2015 Lighthouse Trust Summer School

Picture of the cast lined up for the "Superfriends" Summer School play in August 2015 including Dean (the Joker in "Superfriends") and Ronan (Robin in "Superfriends").

The cast lined up for the “Superfriends” Summer School play in August 2015 including Dean (the Joker in “Superfriends”) and Ronan (Robin in “Superfriends”).

Two mothers Mary Crawford, mother of Dean, and Rachael Elliott, mother of Ronan, have kindly provided their feedback on the Summer School in 2015.

Mary said,

As a first time family attending the Lighthouse Trust Summer School, we had such a positive experience, from the first day I met with Joan and the other parents we were made so welcome and I felt comfortable with everyone, the first meeting in the school was great and gave us all the information we needed.

I loved going to the school each morning and collecting my son as it was great to talk to the other parents. It was like they all knew what my world was like and we just fitted in as we all going through the same struggles of daily life caring for a special needs child.

The after school outings were absolutely brilliant we looked forward to the outings so much especially Dean my son as we were away from home and the outings were such a joy to see the kids able to participate in normal activities that other kids can do every day, for example ice skating. The kids were in their wheelchairs but were still out in the ice rink. Life is so challenging for a special needs child and they miss out on so much but when we went out sailing with Sailability and when we went donkey riding, it gave the kids some nice time and gave them the opportunity to take part in everyday activities.

The summer school was of great benefit to Dean, as he had a routine everyday and he was out of his wheelchair for the day taking part in physical activity and he was so proud of his progress in his walker.

The play the last week of the summer school was super. My son was so confident compared to his mainstream plays he would attend. All the kids and adults have given us a great show.

The conductors and assistants were all so lovely and would give my son a lovely welcome each morning. They were all so suited to their job.

Without this summer school my son would have had a very boring month of August at home on his school holidays and would have not been able to attend mainstream summer camp. For us this school is so important and we look forward to next summer already. We look forward to meeting everyone again as we were made feel so welcome.

Rachael said,

I hope I have enough room, because this was one of the best summer schools ever!

August 2015, now this is a month we will never forget…as usual we started with all the guys at the Lighthouse Trust Summer School. Every year we see Ronan grow, physically, mentally and socially in 4 short weeks, and this year, his achievements were remarkable!

Ronan had only had surgery, 4 weeks before Summer school started, so we weren’t sure how it would go for him, maybe he would be weak, progress would be slow…How wrong could we have been!

Ronan physically, has rocketed forward, due to the unbelievable positivity and determination the conductors and assistants have in his abilities.

Every day at home time we were greeted by a smiling boy, pride all over his face as he walked towards us on his walking frame, each day he walked father and further, with less and less assistance, and by the end of school play, he played Robin – Batman’s sidekick, and he ‘walked’ the batmobile across the stage…we were just astounded.

The walking, of course, is not the be all and end all, so much has to happen in the whole body to allow this to occur. His trunk has become noticeably stronger, his arms are stretching out nicely, this helps him support himself more confidently, and engage in activities more naturally without the fear of falling. Lots of work was done for his hands to prevent ‘fisting’ and to encourage Ronan to use an outstretched hand, instead.

During his lying programme, Ronan gained so much confidence, that he was trying to help others by giving direction for the next exercise…perhaps we have a budding conductor in our midst!

His rolling is more fluid, he has confidence to get into a kneeling position, and most importantly we are seeing this, as an everyday activity, at home.

He had lots of lines in the play, and family and friends commented on, how strong his voice had become and how clear his speech is, all aspects of Conductive Education, that allow each child to reach their full potential.

The atmosphere, this year, was energy charged….as always, everyone working together as one amazing team of professionals, but this year there was something special!

As I have said, immensely dedicated, knowledgeable positive professionals, who are nurturing, kind, caring, and have limitless energy and limitless boundaries for our kids!

We could not do without this school, ever! It is a lifeline to us as parents, it gives us a glimpse of what is possible for Ronan, a more independent future for him, one in which he feels useful and worthwhile. I do not know of a more deserving charity, than this one, it is changing children’s and young adults’ lives.