WHISH column: Praising our real ‘superheroes’

Youngsters at WHISH have various disabilities which are not apparent or obvious.
Youngsters at WHISH have various disabilities which are not apparent or obvious.

This month, I have been thinking about characters in children’s books and films.

I get sent lots of info about helping everyday life for kids with different impairments and disabilities.

Sometimes it’s ideas for parents to try at home or school to help their children, it could be pens with special grips to hold or a software package that reads out text to children with dyslexia.

Or it can be a way to encourage children who feel different or excluded to join in activities with other children, or deal with bullying.

Recently it was a link to photographer Josh Rossi’s project for a great cause: he photographed kids with diseases and disabilities as Justice League superheroes.

It’s brilliant!

Tiny kids with cancer, leukaemia and so on, strutting their stuff as Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman and so on. Have a look at it on the internet – it will make you smile. I also overheard a comment with a Harry Potter reference in relation to WHISH – but not in a pleasant context “....they just make things up as they go along – like invisible disabilities – where’s my invisibility cloak”. Another comment – “I know someone who’s joined – there’s nowt wrong with their kid!”

I suppose one response to those remarks could be “look what it says on the tin.”

We are Whitby Hidden Impairments Support & Help.

Not all of the children we help have an impairment that is easy to see - Crohn’s diease, Epilepsy, heart conditions, leukhaemia, Fragile X syndrome, being bipolar, autistic,

diabetic are sometimes not apparent or obvious.

We support children with a range of 40+ different conditions.

Perhaps the person who quoted the invisibility cloak wants a superpower – to look inside children’s bodies and minds to see and quantify the difficulties that have resulted in them joining WHISH.

Or perhaps they need to watch the film Bambi again – and take notice of Thumper’s words – “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

We have a dressing up box in the WHISH Hub, and perhaps this Hallowe;en there may be some more superheroes flying around as well as witches.

Of course the REAL superheroes are WHISH parents and volunteers – but that’s a story for another column.

Now then, where’s my magic wand? I need to find some funding.