An Introduction from Pat, the mother of Lauren
I’d been thinking about trying to write a poem for a while. I’d made a presentation for the PAMIS Train the Trainer course which I called ‘Lauren’s Blog’ and my aim was to try to see the world through Lauren’s eyes; an exercise which was enlightening and thought provoking. A few things struck home; firstly that Lauren has a terrific sense of humour and secondly that I probably sometimes get on her nerves.
It occurred to me that it would be interesting to try to distil a presentation with slides, videos and music down into a poem. For months, I had the phrase ‘My name is Lauren’ going round in my head and other snippets would occasionally come to me so I started writing them down. By the time I attended the PAMIS Therapeutic Workshop a few weeks ago, I had the outline of a poem but the workshop gave me the incentive to get it into a readable form for the second day. There was much scribbling in the train on the way home on the first night. I’ve tidied it up a bit since then and added a few more verses, but I’m done now!
I’ve never in my life written a poem before and am unlikely to ever do so again, but I was pleased to write some words which I hope will make people pause for a minute to consider how much of a struggle life for a non-verbal person, and to realise that they still have a voice even though their words don’t come out of their mouth.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Many people with a profound learning disability are non-verbal and so are unable to communicate by speech. They will try to communicate with you using their other senses so if you would like to understand them, you will need to listen with your other senses too.
My Name is Lauren….
My name is Lauren. I don’t have much to say
Some sounds and signs, pictures cards to give away
It’s truly a journey of discovery
Who knew I’d be able to write poetry
My name is Lauren. What did you see?
A wee girl with bunches and a gap in my teeth
Pretty tartan ribbons and blue dungarees
I was so cute it could make my mum greet
My name is Lauren. I’m not so small now
I’m a bit of a Viking so don’t mess me about
I grew up to be tall with really big feet
Very cool shoes though and smart trendy breeks
My name is Lauren. My sister Jenna’s the best.
She could! But she doesn’t make me feel like a pest.
I love when she reads me my picture books, although…
She always reads her own favourite, The Gruffalo!
My name is Lauren. Did I do something wrong?
This shopping trip was lasting so very long
Those chips were just sitting on that woman’s plate
And I was so hungry I just couldn’t wait
My name is Lauren. On my swing I can fly
I can see treetops and birds flying by
The ground swooshing past me; the wind in my hair
Mum shouts go slower but she knows I don’t care
My name is Lauren. Do I like to sing!
Disney, Singing Kettle and even some swing
It’s all in my head so you maybe can’t hear me
But I sure make some noise on my big tambourine
My name is Lauren. What’s all that racket?
All sparkly like fireworks and loud as a train
It’s scary and shoots through me like a rocket
If only it wasn’t right inside my brain
My name is Lauren. Where did my family go?
This house is full of people that I don’t know
No one here gets me. They can’t hear what I say.
I don’t understand why they expect me to stay.
My name is Lauren. Where do all the good things go?
I’ve looked in the cupboard and under the bed
No pink pig, chocolate or my special ted
I could only find dust balls and pieces of thread
My name is Lauren. I’ve misplaced my gran
They thought I wouldn’t notice. A really daft plan.
I guessed she was hiding cos she’d been gone so long
But mum brought her back with photos, stories and songs
My name is Lauren. My family’s not gone at all.
I go to visit them all the time, without fail.
They’re still just down the road. What a great big relief!
I can ride my own swing and mum still brushes my teeth.
My name is Lauren. Proud that I’m a Pamis guy
Music and dancing and stories, and games to try
Swimming and skating and lots of fun in the park
Cycling with Alan until it gets too dark
My name is Lauren. And you’ve been really kind
Listening to all of mum’s terrible rhymes
But the moral of this story is quite clear to see
The harder you listen, the louder my voice will be.