For many children and young people, particularly those with learning difficulties, attending a theatre performance can be a confusing and stressful experience. Sara Ryan from the University of Warwick has described the experience of many parents taking their children into such public places as being “contingent, unsatisfactory and incomplete”.
In the summer of 1999, I was sitting on Whitby beach with my husband, Andrew, and our two-year-old toddler, Tom. There was a strong breeze that kept blowing sand into our ice creams, but the sky was bright blue, and the sun danced on the surface of the sea.
I didn’t know that the next day would bring a tsunami with it, one that would destroy the life I knew and leave me to rebuild a completely different one. I was only 24 weeks pregnant and my waters broke. Three days later, James was born weighing just 1lb 12oz, with extensive brain damage.