Eight-year-old Ryan – not his real name but the story is real – had a tough start in life. He was born addicted to drugs and spent his first three months in hospital – both his parents were drug-addicts. By the time he was one he had been taken into care. Ryan’s mother has since then lost all contact, and, as she’s in and out of jail, she still doesn’t see him at all.
When Ryan was three his father Jim came off drugs and was allowed to take care of his son. But when Ryan got to school he seemed to be fighting a losing battle with learning, and he was often literally fighting with other children. After three years he couldn’t even recognise most of the letters of the alphabet.
Then Jim heard about Caspari from the school’s educational psychologist. Gradually we came to understand Ryan’s deep-seated problems. Chaos, crashing, fires, hiding … were regular themes. And, again and again, searching – for his lost imprisoned mother. Playing with a toy farm, he’d repeatedly put a mummy cat and her kitten behind an iron grill and stick the grill down firmly with tape. One day Ryan put his arms and head on the table and asked: “Do you think I’ll ever see my mummy again?” He was at last able to share his innermost fear.
Now Ryan is gradually emerging from his shell, to become a bright, curious, excited little boy … popular in class, and a keen learner. His life is coming right.
Senior Education Therapist, The Caspari Foundation
Wednesday’s Child has helped to pay for Ryan’s therapy