‘Something’s wrong with your son, and it’s your fault’
By Linda Leaper
I would like to tell you about an ordinary yet I would say remarkable family called the Leaper’s
Linda and Anthony Leaper have three children, two of whom, Richard (now aged 22) and Catherine (aged 11), are both affected by the genetic disorder ‘Fragile X’.
Usually this disorder affects males far more than females, as is the case with Richard.
Anthony is a senior executive in a very prominent global company who I have got to know over the last year through my business. In this time we have got to know each other very well, during our journeys together.
In 2008 Linda wrote and published a book recounting their story regarding Richard’s upbringing, explaining, from a mother’s perspective, the massive challenges that she and Anthony have had to face and overcome.
What shines out to you whilst reading the book, is that despite these challenges, the huge enrichment that having a child like Richard has brought to both lives and also their second child Andrew (not affected by the condition).
The following opening two paragraphs of the book and a later section explain far better than I can ever do, what the book is about, and why Linda felt compelled to write it:
OPENING PARAGRAPH FROM CHAPTER ONE.
Having decided to write this book, it was not long before all the memories, some happy, many sad, came flooding back to me. Here I am, a married woman with three, who are to me, very special children, my oldest only seventeen, yet it’s already been a long and difficult adventure, which was not at all what I expected when I first told my husband, those many years ago "I’m pregnant darling!" However let’s not get ahead of ourselves; this is the introduction, so let me introduce you to my family.
First, there is Richard, who you will find out a lot more about as you read this book because he is the main reason I started to put pen to paper. Richard is affected by a genetic disorder which has been the cause of my short turbulent history so far. However it is Richard, whom, if I had never been lucky enough to have him, would have been a huge loss to me, as it’s been the opportunity I have had to share my life with him that has turned me into the person I am today. The journey Richard and I have experienced together, its ups and downs, the laughter and tears, have shaped my character more than I could have ever imagined, and it is the story of this journey we have endured together together that this book, I hope, will share with you.
Page 193 – ‘THE WINDOW INTO A SPECIAL WORLD’.
So through all the struggles, stress and sadness that can surround the raising of a child like Richard, you may well be asking what inspires and motivates me to keep going. Well obviously there is that maternal instinct as a parent that drives both Anthony and I to do everything we can for Richard, but there is also an incredible upside that having a child like Richard brings into your life. A magical gift that washes away all the hardships. I am not saying that there isnt a magical gift that comes with the addition of any child into a family, there is, and I should know because I have two other children who have contributed equally to the magical fairytale that surrounds my family, but with Richard it is the invitation he brings to enable us to look through a window into another world of how children can behave and react with each other. A magical world brimming with simplicity, respect, care and trust.
It is Linda’s dearest hope that any family faced with what they see as the huge ‘burden’ of bringing up a child like Richard, or a child with any form of special needs, will begin to realise through reading her book, that although there will be many very difficult practical and emotional challenges during the journey to overcome, there will also be many ‘magical gifts that will wash away all the hardships.’
If you would like to receive a copy of Linda’s book please get in touch through the contact form below.