Opinion: Be patient – we’re just trying to have fun!

Youngsters enjoying archery in one of many activities organised by charity Whitby Hidden Impairments Support and Help (WHISH) group.
Youngsters enjoying archery in one of many activities organised by charity Whitby Hidden Impairments Support and Help (WHISH) group.

Epilepsy, diabetes, heart conditions – difficult to deal with when you are 40, 50 or 60, but imagine how hard it is if you are just four, five or six.

We’ve all heard of those three conditions, but what about Nystagmus, Fragile X syndrome or Waardenburg syndrome, or some like Chromosome 16 disorder that are so rare only a few children in the UK have it?

All of these, along with conditions that affect sight, hearing, and mobility are experienced by dozens of children in the Whitby area who are living with illness and disability , often from birth.

Some go to Special Schools, but most are at our local schools with your children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

One thing they all have in common is wanting to make friends and have fun. WHISH puts on a range of activities for the children, from art, computing, dance, music, riding and swimming – all activities most children can take for granted, to singing with sign language and special relaxation sessions to help children feeling stressed by dealing with their illness or impairment.

We also have a Saturday morning club every week at the Youth Shack in Whitby, run by a qualified Youth Worker, assisted by a volunteer each week. If anyone can spare a two hours a couple of times a year to help out, email whishgroup@gmail.com or ring 07534 117458.

Some of our children have issues like autism, dyspraxia or Tourette’s, which can lead to unusual behaviour in public situations.

This behaviour usually shows because the children are finding the situation difficult – they are not being naughty.

Once you have seen it a few times, it doesn’t seem unusual.

The staff at Whitby Pavilion are now so used to us turning up with a gang of kids (some of whom may be behaving differently) to go to an event such as a party or film, that the kids behaviour is normal and nobody comments, making the families experience a much more positive one.

We’re getting a set of WHISH T-shirts for when we are out in a group, for example we will be in Sainsbury’s fundraising as their Charity of the Year. So if you spot us out and about sometimes, come and say hello, and please have patience - we’re just trying to have fun!