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Meet the Parents

Yvonne Grimbeek

Yvonne Grimbeek

Parents:
Yvonne Grimbeek

Profession:
Journalist

Age of parents:
53

Child’s name:
Sebastian

Age:
16 years

Is this your only child?
Yes.

Diagnosis of child:
ADHD

What are the biggest challenges facing your child on a daily basis?
Keeping time and planning his day. Sebastian has a very ordered home and school life, he is a creature of habit and as long as that’s not disrupted, he has very few difficulties. He battles with time management but we work at it relentlessly and he knows free time only happens once all his work is done. Other than that, it’s just the normal teenage drama queen stuff.

What are the happiest moments you have with your child on a daily basis?
He is a teenager and has developed a very sarcastic worldview – he makes me laugh when he opens his mouth. However, it’s those moments when we just sit quietly and chat that are truly special.

Are you a single parent or married? Married.

Has your special needs child had an effect on your marriage?
Our child was planned, and after two miscarriages, seemed like a miracle baby. He brings joy to our lives, so yes, he’s changed us forever and for the better.

What has your child taught you about yourself, both positively and negatively?
He has taught me that I will fight as hard as needed to make his life as easy as it needs to be. He has taught me that there is nothing like a child’s hug to make you feel the world is a better place. I would not have had a child if I considered it a negative experience.

Are your family and friends supportive?
Absolutely, the more information and support we share, the better we make our own lives. What is the use of going through all this without sharing it with other people, helping them and getting support and help back from them?

Do you take time out, if so what do you do to relax?
I read, but Sebastian is now old enough to be a companion as well as a child, so we tend to spend a lot of time together doing the mundane and the wacky.

What has made the biggest difference to your child’s quality of life?
Obviously the medication (Concerta) but also being able to hunt around for a school where his particular needs are met all the time. We are lucky that we have found such a school and also that we are able to afford it - Hannaford Specialised Education Centre. State schools simply do not have the resources to allow our special needs children the space and time they need to grow but I also know that not every parent can afford private education costs. Sebastian is at a school where his academic progress has been stellar because of the time teachers are able to spend with him. Also, his quirkiness (dinosaurs and giant monsters) is not seen as a threat but embraced by his teachers and encouraged.

What is your dream for your child?
To be happy and successful and a good human being.
My child is a free spirit and we will support him in any endeavour. 
It is not for me to prescribe his life or career path, I can only give advice and guidance, the rest is up to him.

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