It is now almost a year since Tessa graduated from Henshaws College. We caught up with her mum, Kate, to find out how she's doing.
“So look out world for here you come!” – Kate Simpson’s poem for daughter Tess
Henshaws fundraiser and mother to Tess, Kate Simpson, wrote a beautiful poem last year in celebration of the Henshaws College Graduation ceremony in July 2017.
Kate is the mother to Tessa, who graduated from Henshaws Specialist College in July 2016. Tess is visually impaired and has autism, which means she has limited verbal communication. Kate has shared their journey together from studying at the college, to graduating, and then moving out!
She’s kindly shared her moving poem that she read out at the graduation ceremony:
For each and every one of you on your special day!
What can I say about this place, that you lot don’t already know?
It’s a safe place, a happy place,
Somewhere you have lived, and learned, and laughed.
Made friendships, sadly lost some, changed some, maybe wanted some that were not to be.
Leaving will be hard, but today is truly special, and today is just the start!
Today is all about you.
You are phenomenal, and not because you may not see, or move the way that others do, or process things traditionally.
You simply are!
You really are!
You are totally amazing, from any chair, with any stick, on your tip toes, with any tick, in your bare feet, or with your knickers around your knees. (sorry Tess!)
Humph! You can also be a ratbag! And a pain in the bum! Which is normal…and can be quite fun…….for you!
Sometimes it’s because you hurt, can’t get the world to understand, you have a day that goes off plan!
Of all the things you are dealing with, you are also at that wondrous age when you’re supposed to feel rage and utter disappointment!
That glorious stage, when you can still say “learn my tunes, don’t sing along, it’s embarrassing Mum and anything but cool!”
No PDA…….unless I say….private, not public displays of affection!
In other words, don’t cuddle me here, and especially not in reception!!
As a Mum, who has come and gone through this fabulous place,
I see the joy on every face, I know the pride.
And I sense the trepidation.
Henshaws is like a mini nation!
But think of it as Hogwarts station!
The platform you start out from, to discover all the magic in this world,
To build upon the skills you’ve learned, and use them every day!
Skills of course are funny things, not measured in the way you think,
If you need a while to make a drink, who cares?
Cheese on toast is just as scrummy if it takes an hour to hit your tummy (ask Tess!)
The important skills, the ones you’ll need, those which will help you spread your wings and do the most amazing things,
Things that will make you happy!
Well, they are easy! You have them, in your smiles, your jokes, the glint in your eyes, your happy songs and your openness to everything and everyone.
So look out world for here you come!
Mums and dads, families and carers! You all need to Look out too! Because they will be leaving, and thriving and achieving! You must trust in them, as they always have in you.
Watch them fly and sparkle! If at any point, their glitter needs more glue, they will look to you, and the pot, they know you carry.
In the moments, when you are wandering, on your own, whether anyone else can dip the spatula, the way you do, don’t worry, it will get dipped and spread!
And your wonderful child will go to bed, glittery and happy!
So you Graduates it’s your special time!
Cherish today and feel prouder than proud!
This is the end of one part, and a whole new beginning,
So please keep on singing, your own special song,
(and sometimes, for her sake, let Mum sing along!)
If you want to read more about Kate and Tess’s wonderful journey together, Kate has shared her experience and advice in our blogs below, including how to support your child to maintain their independence skills at home.
We support many disabled people with autism through our services in Yorkshire. Our experienced staff understand the additional challenges autism can pose and how it can affect people in very different ways. Make sure to follow our week of stories for World Autism Awareness Week at #HenshawsWAAW
Read more from Kate and Tess's journey
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Henshaws rely on voluntary donations; our work just wouldn’t be possible without people like you. Your support empowers local people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to increase their independence, achieve their dreams, and go beyond expectations.