Joseph is five years old and lives with his parents and two older siblings; Abraham, 9 and Jemima, 6. His family describe Joseph as happy, persistent, stubborn, funny, cheeky, smiley, caring, calm and loved.
Joseph was born at 30 weeks gestation with a variety of physical diagnoses including Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and spastic quadriplegia.
Joseph attends a Special Academy which he enjoys very much and who cater well for his sensory needs. His teachers are lovely but are not as ambitious in their attempts with his literacy education as his siblings teachers have been with theirs. Joseph’s mother has been working with him at home using tactile letters and tactile word cards which she has encouraged school to use with him too.
Josephs mum is very aware of the constraints faced by the school but comments, “I’ll keep on pushing for it. I don’t want to be that parent that thinks she knows it all or that parent who thinks he can do more than he can but I have to try with him. I know he’s got more to give.”
Joseph’s mum reflects: “When Joseph was 9 months old, he was fitted with a mini button and fed via his peg. He’d had a video fluoroscopy and his swallow was safe. However he struggled with liquids….. so I began to blend his food. I started to feed him these soups by spooning tiny tastes in his mouth, eventually more was going in his mouth and less down the tube….. he now eats 3 full meals a day orally and I use his peg for his meds and extra fluids…. this means I’ve a healthy boy in terms of his nutrients.”
“So… I believe the same principal applies to Jospeh’s learning as it did to his feeding (he didn’t realise he could eat until I taught him). I’m not suggesting he’d write a book, but I do know that somewhere inside him is a little boy that needs to ‘come out’ and for that to happen I need to teach him to read.”
As a family, they love books and Joseph is no exception. He has been surrounded by a love of reading and and is able to convey his understanding of books read to him. He thoroughly enjoys listening to stories and and his family are ambitious for him to become a reader and develop that love to enjoy independently.
Joseph’s family have read Jonathan’s which has given them an insight into what is possible. His mother says that the book has helped by encouraging her family to support her in striving for Joseph to reach his full potential. She states, “obviously as he’s so loved they all think he’s wonderfully clever anyway ( the biased love of a family unit) and his sister Jemima is determined that he will know his colours…. the family think she’ll end up a teacher one day!”