Last Saturday I met someone very special who touched my heart. His name was Rikus. I had already spoken at the Cerebral Palsy Family Awareness Day and was watching the children. Then I saw Rikus eating a biscuit he had made with his mum.
Rikus has severe CP, he can’t talk, walk, do anything for himself and his mum explained they don’t really know how much he can see. So Polly took over, she’s very good at that. Polly by the way, is my alter ego in the form of a parrot puppet who accompanies me to schools and events.
She asked Rikus if she could have some of his biscuit and was immediately met by a smile that stole her heart. She tucked and rubbed herself under his arm and the reaction was immediate. She went on to give him a kiss. I don’t think either I or his mum expected the reaction we got as Rikus made a clicking sound.
“He wants another kiss,” his mum told me.
Polly continued to interact with Rikus for about half an hour, and every action brought a reaction from him, from smiles to contorted gestures indicating pleasure and lots and lots of clicks which were returned with kisses from Polly. As our time drew to a close, I realised that Polly’s bright colours could indeed be seen by Rikus and her and my voices could be heard by him. So, if you are ever in any doubt as to whether someone who is severely disabled can communicate, just take the time to find out. Polly did, and her life has been changed forever, as did mine, for as I write this piece and look back over the photos I smile, because this young man was so happy that day, and it felt good to make a difference.