Q&A with Suzanne Askham, author of ‘This One is Special: When your child has a condition that can’t be cured, where do you look for answers?’

1. What is This One is Special about and why did you write it?

This One is Special is about my experience of becoming a mother of a child with profound disabilities. I asked the question: when your child has a condition that can’t be cured, where do you go for answers? The book is about the powerful spiritual lessons I learned along the way. It’s about learning to trust in intuition when your child’s life and wellbeing depends on coming up with the best solutions. Highly personal as my story is, I believe there are insights there for everyone. The more honest and personal I could be in telling my story, the more universal my message has turned out to be.

2. What advice would you give to potential parents who are worried their child may have some sort of disease or illness that requires special attention and added time and money?

Suspecting that your child may turn out to have special needs can undoubtedly be alarming. However, I would suggest that you base all your decisions on love rather than fear. Develop a toolbox of coping strategies. Know that there are good, positive, empowering parents support groups out there that can help you with information and not feeling alone. Grants may be available if needed. Dare to accept that you are your child’s best expert. If your child does turn out to have extra needs, understand that your child will still be normal – diversity is part of the human condition. And above all trust in the beneficial power of the universe. However you wish to express this, cultivate a sense that you and your child are in essential ways looked after. And make a point of trying always to accept help when it is offered!

3. How did you balance the demands of being a parent with your own self-care?

The balance is not easy. But over the years I have learned to listen to my internal wellbeing monitor. That means recognising my need to work, to rest and to play. For me it starts in the morning with a short sequence of stretches, affirmations and meditation – a way of tuning into the energies of the day. I have discovered that if I can cultivate a deep and authentic sense of calm while honoring my own passions for life, the whole household benefits.

4. In your book, you talk about learning to trust our instincts through or dreams and intuition. What advice would you give to someone who is questioning their intuition because it has led them to past failure, struggles, or is currently leading them to a decision that seems foolish or irrational?

For me, intuition works by noticing what you notice. What is coming forward for your attention? You can hone this ability by keeping a dream diary in which you record your sleeping dreams and waking visions. If you are not sure whether to trust a particular intuition, ask yourself how it makes you feel. If it contains a downward, dragging, fearful energy, that’s not intuition, it’s fear. If there is a sense of love and reassurance, you can trust in your inner hunches.

5. Have you experienced any serendipity or synchronicity as a result of following your intuition? If so what?

This has happened to me many times! One example was when I felt it was time to stop being a governor at my son’s special school – a post I had held for ten years. The week after I left I was offered a trusteeship at The Healing Trust, the UK’s biggest healer-training charity. I would not have had time for that new role, if my intuition had not stepped in first.

6. What is your experience with holistic health and how can we balance holistic health with the traditional medicine that uses a more traditional or scientific approach?

When my son was little he was highly vulnerable and I was nervous about holistic options in health care. But I followed recommendations from sources I trusted and now I wouldn’t function without looking at the whole picture, which includes complementary approaches. At the most basic level, pain and stress levels can be lessened with a few drops of lavender essential oil by the sick bed. Energy healing can help symptoms. It’s about balance – we need both conventional medicine and holistic strategies. Only then can we flourish.

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For more information about the author, please visit her website at:   suzanneaskham.com

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