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Thursday’s Fostering Blog

After a fairly disappointing trip to the lighthouse on Monday, when our trip was hampered by poor information and inaccessibility, all was redeemed today when we had the opportunity to take a boat trip. The trip took us off the coast and over to a little island a couple of miles off shore, where we could see up close the local wildlife. We had been assured from the literature that the boat itself was accessible and we were pleased (and relieved!) to find on arrival that they were true to their word and we were able to get Alice onto the boat easily in her wheelchair.

We were all thrilled to see so many different birds on the island – including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, but the highlight to us all was seeing Atlantic Grey seals bobbing up and down in the sea. They were almost within touching distance. With the help of the boat’s skipper, who was giving a full commentary on the trip, we could see in the distance a number of baby seals. We had only ever seen seals in a zoo before, so we all felt like it had been an incredible experience.

One thing I noticed on the trip was that Charlie, Annie, Lauren and I naturally kept our heads up – listening to the commentary and looking carefully for what was being described. Alice however was looking anywhere but where she should have been. I noticed she spent a lot of the trip looking at the other passengers on the boat. She focussed on on them – waiting for them to notice her and then try to engage them in conversation and attention. She had pretty much missed most of the wildlife and experience of the trip. I tried to help her to look up, I got down to get level and pointed out some of what was before us. I wondered whether she was struggling as she was so much lower down in her wheelchair, but I realised when I got down, her view was fine.

In truth she was much more interested in getting attention from the strangers on the boat. She was having a completely different experience than the rest of us. This is a classic example of the out working of her attachment disorder. Whilst we can try to help her, there are times and places where it’s just not worth taking on the battle. I knew that if I’d pushed things even a little more the trip would have ended on disaster – I would guess that Alice would have had an outburst – which in itself would have given her the attention she craves so much. So instead I got back up and enjoyed the rest of the trip.

A Less Ordinary Family Fostering Blog