It didn’t take long to work out who I wanted to focus on in this month’s blog article. My support crew have been my support crew from day one. My parents. Each taking on their supporting role in their own unique but both massively valuable ways in terms of helping me get through life with my son Jude who is ten years old and has severe learning disabilities.

My mum 

When Jude was a baby and we lived near Cambridge, my mum used to drive almost an hour to my house and then another half an hour to our local hospital for regular weekly appointments with the Paediatrician, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Music Therapist, etc. She would do this a couple of times a week just so I wasn’t on my own. She would come up whenever I needed help or just so I had adult conversations and didn’t go insane. As such, she and Jude have created the most amazing relationship, if anything she is his favourite person in the whole world. He asks for Granny all the time and they regularly have days out together - just hanging out at home, swimming, trips to the park or shops; they do it all together. They play games together that no-one else is invited to join in with and they virtually understand each other with just looks and glances.

It’s so incredible for Jude that he has Granny in his life. From the moment he was born she has been his guardian angel, she thinks about him all the time and picks clothes or essentials up when she’s at the shops purely because he’s always on her mind. Granny tolerates his occasionally horrendous behaviour because she has the patience of a Saint!


 My dad

My dad…here he is… has always been less confident with the hands on direct childcare support (largely because it’s hard to get near the children with mum around!) but he is there whenever I need someone and is a massively focal part of all the children’s lives (I have three children - Jude, Elsa who is seven years old and Emmeline, 14 months). Jude asks to see Grandad as much as he does Granny and has a string of questions ready for him whenever we are all together. They also have a secret stash of pistachios that no one else is allowed to touch and Jude finds it hilarious that they have this little secret together; he loves to be part of an “in” joke as I imagine he doesn’t feel like he is “in” with a lot of society in general. He lacks confidence and because of his limited understanding of his surroundings, it’s so cute when he finds something he wants to be part of…such as the pistachio gang.


For me, the key components of being a great Support Crew are:

1) Offering help because you know the other person needs you, even if they won’t directly ask for it.

2) Being honest when your opinion is sought. It doesn’t help to tell a mistruth just because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.

3) Get involved. I don’t have to tell my parents what the children are up to this week because they already know. They know that Jude goes horse riding with school once a week, they know Elsa has orchestra on a Friday so they are able to engage in family conversations without having to be kept up to date.

4) Not expecting massive returns. I know I can’t offer my parents what they give to us as a family but I realise also that they don’t expect it. They love spending time with the children and are a huge part of their lives because they want to be.

5) Lastly, all of the above needs to be done genuinely. There is no good in helping out if you don’t truly want to; it’ll have the counter effect of making the individual feel awful about themselves. I personally do not like getting help, however it is a million times more stressful if I think I am getting the help because someone feels they should do it, not because they want to do it. Being supportive has to come from inside, there is nothing there if you are only there because you feel you should be.

We are so lucky to have my parents as part of my Support Crew. 

Who is in your support crew or who do you support?

Read more about Alice and Jude's adventures on her blog Living with a Jude