Peter Rowe, author and man with Down’s Syndrome

My in-laws now live in Australia. Have done for a few years in fact. We have been very fortunate in being able to take our family “down-under” on a couple of occasions to go and see them. We even looked into emigrating to join them there. But that’s a post for another time.

Last time we were there we visited a renowned local weekly country market. Fantastic, with loads of stalls covering a huge area selling all sorts of arts, crafts, locally produced foods, etc. Whilst bumbling around taking it all in (and resisting buying all sorts of lovely stuff because of the problems of transporting items back to the UK) we stumbled across a small stall promoting and selling books. Nothing unusal in that I hear you say. And you’d be right, except that the stall only had two books (lots of copies of each though) and these where childrens books. The cover illustrations made me think they would be appropriate for my children, so I picked them up to have a look.

It turned out the books were written by a local man who happened to have Down Syndrome. I bought the books. The author is a chap called Peter Rowe. Take a look at his website, he does other things beside writing.

His Bio, both on his books and on his website, says that from his birth in 1964 until 1994 he had very limited communication and that this led people, including his family, to believe he had very limited understanding and comprehension. I suspect this is a common issue for people with communication difficulties. I firmly believe I am guilty of under-estimating my own son’s abilities,  and I think his school does so too, as we struggle to understand what he says a lot of the time. It must be very frustrating for him and sometimes you can see that.   

Peter claims his life was changed when he was introduced to Facilitated Communication. I understand this is a controversial subject and not one I have any experience of – you can read about it on Wikipedia. But if Peter believes it worked for him then it probably did. But what I do know is the two books we purchased that day – The Big Black Cloud and  The Handsome Man – are good childrens books.

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