In the fourth episode of Table Talk, Paddy and Christine speak to mum of two Katie to talk about family breaks.
Katie has two boys, Christian and Samuel. Christian was born with Downs Syndrome and Hirschsprung’s disease a condition that affects the large intestine and bowel.
“It’s not really until your child starts getting a little bit older that you start to see what a massive personality they have. Christian loves to be involved. If there is one thing he’s incredible at, it’s being in front of a camera and talking. He loves it.
“From a learning point of view and a maturity point of view, although he’s now 14, he is very much eight or nine in his learning abilities.”
Katie explains; “It’s difficult sometimes, to put into words how much has changed since becoming a parent to a child with a disability, because you don’t know how you would have been had you not gone down that road. I’m on a completely different road now, but I wouldn’t change it.”
“Christian has taught me so much as a person and still teaches me every day. He makes me stop and think every day. So much goes on in his head that you really can’t judge a book by its cover.”
Family Fund help with holidays
“I first heard about Family Fund from Elaine, Christian’s portage worker who came out to see him when he was little.
“Our first ever grant was for a trampoline and it has given Christian years and years of joy. That was the start of my relationship with Family Fund.
“I saw a leaflet showing other possible grants and thought a holiday would be really beneficial for Christian and our family. Holidays were near impossible to afford once I found myself a single parent back in 2011. But I knew growing up, how important they are to spend time together as a family. It’s what we have applied for ever since.”
“Early on we stayed in a cottage by the sea in Wales and my parents came along as well, we all still talk about that now. For the boys to spend time with their grandparents and create those amazing memories was perfect.”
“Christian loves the beach, it’s the first thing he does on any holiday, strips off and runs in the sea. So, in 2013, I thought how wonderful it would be for us all to go abroad? We chose Kefalonia and the Family Fund grant paid towards the break. Just seeing your kids relaxing in the pool and going out for meals in the taverna they looked so happy and relaxed, it was great.
“I do have to prepare him for the holidays. I give him notice and then we talk through them. As long as he has enough preparation in his head, he is fine. When you have a child with special needs, it’s just something you’re very used to; preparations.” I don’t know any different it’s been like that for so many years.
“Last year because of COVID we couldn’t go abroad so we chose to go to a Haven caravan site. I hardly saw Christian because he was always over in the football area. It showed me that Christian could be independent. That was absolutely priceless for me. It was the most exciting part of the holiday, watching Christian grow and have his own independence. Family Fund helped with that.
“It goes hand in hand, without the support from Family Fund Christian wouldn’t have these opportunities.”
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.