For quite some time Wonder Boy has wanted to know what it feels like to fly. In his earlier years this would put years on me for fear that he would jump out of a window. There was the time he found a parachute on eBay and attempted to put a bid in…
As he has got older the lure of skydiving has occasionally pulled at him, even suggesting that he raise money for charity. As his advocate I have supported his right to do risky things, as his Mum (with a definite fear of flying) I have made every effort to change the subject.
We have a local iFly centre where we live. This enables people to float between two large fans so they can experience the sensation of flying without the risk of imminent death. Wonder Boy has wanted to have a go for quite a while. When I was footing the bill for everything, I was a bit reluctant to shell out the £40 for something that WB would probably not be able to go through with but now he has a bit of ESA he has some independent means and a lot more choices.
Today, armed with my left-over Christmas money (how does that happen when you have bloody kids?) WB and the best carer in the world, Steve headed off the iFly in the hope of a flight. Before he had even left the house and despite the fact that this was what he REALLY, REALLY wanted to do, WB was already saying about his bad back, his dodgy stomach and all his other aches and pains. It crossed my mind that Steve would earn his money today.
From what I have understood, they arrived at iFly and were welcomed by the reception staff. The staff were fabulous with WB as his anxiety kicked in. The best carer in the world, Steve, donned uncomfortable goggles and a safety helmet too as WB sat in the tunnel awaiting his turn, despite the fact that Steve wasn’t going to get a go.
iFly instructor, Ben took WB through and talked him through the whole process, appreciating that noise is an issue for the gorgeous one, Ben provided him with staff regulation ear plugs. Talking him through it all, Ben understood that WB was worried about the fans and disappearing into the blades (probably meeting a grisly end, I know how he thinks) so asked the control room to turn the wind speed down so he could get used to it all. I was sent photos taken by Steve of the whole thing and it was clear how proud Steve was of WB and his amazing achievement in flight.
I shared his sense of pride and just a tad of anxiety about how this might be the beginning of a very expense new hobby….
As I’m the first person to call out bad practice, I like to even up the balance when I see excellent care. I emailed the iFly people through their contact page to tell them how fabulous they were and that both Steve and I were impressed by their person-centred approach. I got a response within the hour from someone who had met WB and Steve at reception. It transpired that she had gone to school with WB in his early years when he was still in mainstream, and was able to give Ben a bit of a heads up. Educationalists NEVER underestimate what inclusive education can do and how long those experiences last. Thank you Tamsin, Ben and Steve – WB had a brilliant day and I was able to get on with my working day without worrying about him at all, which is what you want as a parent carer really. WB is telling me they do family sessions and that we should go together next time (next time!!) – I am not wearing a one piece and goggles, I fly on planes with complimentary wine thanks.