The Clinical Negligence team at Ison Harrison Solicitors work with families who are raising children with special needs and disabilities. Due to the nature of our work, their disabilities were often avoidable and caused by negligent care by medical professionals. We know that this can be extremely difficult to come to terms with and getting the right support is vital, that’s why we support charities such as Little Hiccups and the Erb’s Palsy Group who provide excellent support and advice to families who find themselves in a situation they were not prepared for.

The poem “Welcome to Holland” uses the metaphor of a trip to Italy being a typical birth and child-raising experience, and a trip to Holland as the experience of raising a child with additional needs. We think the poem is a fantastic way to help people look at raising a child with additional needs in a new light.

We appreciate that it can be very daunting and at times extremely hard work, but we have seen our clients achieve some amazing things and overcome difficult challenges. We work to ensure that our clients get the support they require to enable them to have the best quality of life possible.

Pink, red and orange tulip field in North Holland during spring


by Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

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