Although initially, I thought of the experience of parenting a deaf daughter with cerebral palsy as special, in reality, just about everyone’s life is touched by an individual with special needs. Today, I read in the newspaper that best-selling mystery writer Ian Rankin has a son with Angelman syndrome. (It’s a rare disorder, but there is actually a story by Hannah Holborn about parents and a similarly affected child in Love You to Pieces.)
Rankin told Lynn Barber of the Los Angeles Times that learning of his son Kit’s diagnosis has made him a better writer:
“He was halfway through the eighth [novel in his Rebus series], Black and Blue when Kit’s condition was diagnosed and the anger and distress he poured into the novel lifted it from the ruck of crime fiction.”
The barrels of the money that he is making from his crime fiction will go, Rankin says, to the care of his son, who will need someone to look after him for the duration of his life.
“Having a special-needs child, he says, forces you to think about mortality – you’ve got to provide for the child after your death.”