Category: Austen’s ramblings


A cat’s viewpoint

It was as I was writing a story about a cat that I discovered the beauty of J’s life. Or perhaps it was the wrong toilet that did it.

From the beginning. I met J a year ago. J is Austen’s son. Diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, he’s great young guy, with a lovely personality. My wife and [...]

Death of mother and disabled daughter after refusing help

Another sad sad story hit the media headlines a couple of days back. This time it appears that the mother of a disabled daughter died suddenly leaving the daughter (apparently paralysed from the neck down) to stave to death next to her.

What sets this apart from other incidents that tend to hit  the headlines is that in [...]

Of underbites and pizza

 We went to see Toy Story 3 last weekend. We watched it in 3d. I say “we” but my son refused to wear the glasses so he sat through the entire film watching it in a slightly blurred fashion as the two images overlapped one-another. Of course I offered him the glasses several times during the [...]

Inappropriate toilet use

I often wonder how much of the world my son really understands. Oh, I am pretty sure his comprehension of many things is much better than his teachers, medical professionals, etc. give him credit for. But the world is full of subtleties that must be very confusing to people with learning difficulties.

This was neatly illustrated to [...]

Mainstream or Special Needs school?

I can only speak from my experience here in the UK.

My son started life in mainstream. Infant school for three years, then changed at 7 to a middle school where he stayed for one year. When he was 8 he moved to our local special needs school.

He always appeared to be petty happy [...]

Did you know your son had Down's sydrome before he was born?

“So, did you know your son had Down’s syndrome before he was born?”

A few years ago, when our son was young and cute (he’s still cute but rapidly approaching those teenage years) and we met new friends and acquaintances, we would often be asked this question as conversation naturally moved towards children. I must admit its [...]

David Askew: bullied to death for having a learning difficulty?

Anybody who watches the news will surely have seen this story; it was widely reported both on TV and in the press (see the Daily Mail coverage here). It concerned the case of David Askew, a 64-year old man with learning difficulties who was apparently ‘tormented to death’ during 17 years (17 years!) of abuse by ’gangs’ of children – some [...]

Girl with learning difficulties found hanged

Is it me or are these stories turning up with monotonous regularity?

This latest one is a very depressing case as it concerns a young girl of eight who was found in her “filthy bedroom” hanged by a cord after being effectively “abandoned to her fate” (neglected) by her parents, according to the Daily Mail. I won’t [...]