- Secretary and Parent & Toddler Group Co-ordinator
Hi my name is Ann Kenwright. I’m married to Phil, and together we have five children, Lorna, Andy, Jack, Adam and Jamie. Our eldest son Andy is married to our lovely daughter in law Rhian and we now have a gorgeous little grandson, Dylan.
I was a primary school teacher for almost twenty years until the arrival of our youngest son Jamie, who is now 6 years old. He has Down Syndrome and is also being assessed for Autism Spectrum Condition. Before Jamie was born we didn’t know he had DS, it was confirmed at two days old. At the same time we found out that he needed emergency bowel surgery that night and would later need open heart surgery at three and a half months. He was in hospital for the first six weeks and came home needing three hourly feeds via an ng tube and he was quite poorly till he had his open heart surgery. Even then there were complications as he needed to be reintubated when fluid built up on his chest. So the first few months were very tough and he was in and out of hospital a lot in his first 18mths. Since then thank goodness Jamie has gone from strength to strength and is now a very active and healthy little boy! Jamie is a little different to his peers with DS as he has severe speech delay but he is making great progress and his language is now starting to emerge. He goes to a mainstream school called Knotty Ash Primary and is supported by a fabulous one to one, who, amongst other things, is teaching him sign language to help him communicate. Jamie is a real outdoors kind of guy, whether it’s splashing in puddles or playing in the garden he just loves it! At home he loves to watch his favourite cartoons, copying the actions and ‘singing’ along to all the songs – he may not be able to say the words but he is certainly very vocal! Jamie is a fantastic little boy who has brought so much love to our family and we feel so lucky to have him in our lives.
We joined DSL when Jamie was about 14mths old and our first social event was the Christmas Party at St Antony’s. Phil and I were quite nervous but we were overwhelmed by the warm welcome we received. Looking around at all the children having a fabulous time it was hard to distinguish which children had Down Syndrome and which didn’t – and we knew then, it didn’t matter! That was the first time that we both looked at each other and realised “Actually, it’s all going to be ok”
The following year I became a Trustee and I have really enjoyed working with a great bunch of friends, raising awareness and helping our little DSL family to grow. My main role is to welcome in new members. Anne Wilde our secretary passes on their e mails to me and I send them a letter full of information about our Playgroup and other support available in the area. Sometimes parents aren’t quite ready for lots of new faces at Playgroup so I will visit them at home or in hospital for a chat and a cuppa. It gives them the chance to ask questions and I have the privilege of snuggles with lots of beautiful little babies!
The Playgroup is at Childwall children’s centre, Rudston Rd, Childwall on the last Thursday of every month from 10 till 12. I run it with the help of my fellow trustee Susan Hynes and it has been great to see it go from strength to strength. As well as the Playgroup I also help with organising social events such as the Christmas party and the Ball and training events such as sing and sign as well as fundraising and making charity partner applications. Being a trustee keeps me very busy but honestly it is a real privilege and so rewarding, it is without doubt the best job ever!