Special Needs Families: Surrounded

Miriam Gwynne by Miriam Gwynne Additional Needs

Miriam Gwynne

Miriam Gwynne

Full time mum and carer for two truly wonderful autistic twins. I love reading, writing, walking, swimming and encouraging others. Don’t struggle a...

It was now time for me to meet my two new babies.

What struck me most about the theatre that day was not the smell, the table of medical tools or even the strange sensation of having hands inside your womb moving around: no the thing that struck me most was the fact I was surrounded.

From the moment of birth my children were surrounded by medical staff.

I had staff looking out for me checking my pain levels, my hormone levels and monitoring my bleeding.

There were midwifes, a paediatrician, nurses, and even students in the room all making sure both my babies were healthy and delivered safely.

From that moment on my children have always remained surrounded.

Nine years on and the story is still incredibly similar except instead of midwives and doctors my children are now surrounded by therapists, support staff, respite staff, social work, teachers, and autism specialists.

It took a team to bring my children into this world and it is taking a team to continue to help them daily.

Sometimes I struggle with being surrounded by so many others who have their own opinions and ways of doing things.

I often feel judged and pressured to do things I am not comfortable with because someone surrounding me is suggesting it. It can feel claustrophobic at times and depressing, like living in a goldfish bowl.

Thankfully though my children, especially my son, like being surrounded.

Isaac will only sit in a chair if he is covered by cuddly toys and plastic figures and books. His bed is full of books, toys and plushes and he will lie on top of them to sleep in preference to moving them.

From just 2 years old when he started nursery he has always had a lot of adults around him too.

The irony is that although he has never been in class of children more than 6 he is still surrounded with adults as he needs them to see to all of his personal care needs.

He is never happier than when he is in a lift full of people and his favourite lifts of all happen to be the glass ones where everyone can watch you.

He has grown up having his every move watched by adults. He needs adults to communicate as he cannot vocalise for himself.

He is often surrounded by technology too as he loves nothing more than to have two iPads on simultaneously on different apps.

He loves crowds and noise and busy places like church. He is happy being the centre of attention or in a pool surrounded by water.

Surrounded definitely defines his life and that of his sister too.

I still struggle with always being surrounded at times. I am grateful for the support but it can be overwhelming having so many people involved too.

I do always console myself with this thought though: from the moment my children were born they have touched so many lives.

Adults may surround my children with support but my children in turn surround them in beauty and love.

I can never have too much of being surrounded by that.


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