'They said my son would never walk or talk - he's taught us never to give up'

Lennon has beaten the odds
-Credit: (Image: Family Fund)

A mum has told how her teenage son has beaten the odds to walk and talk after being "written off" by the professionals. Lennon Wilson was born with multiple disabilities including severe learning disabilities and global development delay.

His parents were told he would never be able to either speak or walk. But the now 13-year-old's determination has led him to prove them wrong.

And he has been hailed a hero by his mum, Emma who says he has taught their family a valuable lesson. She said: "Lennon is an inspiration to all of us.

"He has that fight in him. Lennon has taught our family not to give up. Don’t accept what you’ve been told. If we had, we wouldn’t be here today."

Emma told how the signs that Lennon had issues were clear early in his life. She said: "Even from a baby, we knew there were problems with Lennon’s development.

"His head was very large - we later discovered that this was due to severe learning difficulties and global developmental delay. The conditions are so severe it took many years to be able to diagnose Lennon’s autism too.

"We were told he would never walk or talk. Guess what – at eight-years-old, after a lot of investing in physiotherapy, he took his first steps. Aged 13 he now has seven words."

Lennon had surgery in 2021 to help with his walking
Lennon had surgery in 2021 to help with his walking -Credit:Family Fund

The pair live in Saltney, on the Wales/Chester border with Lennon's step-dad Christopher. He also has an older brother.

And the youngster is popular across their home town. Emma told how he loved all music, listening to anything from country, to pop music or jazz.

She said: "The local buskers in our home town know Lennon, and invite him to dance with them while they play. Everyone knows Lennon locally for his love of music because he is always dancing, he makes a lot of people smile. We have a keyboard at home for Lennon which he’d play on constantly if we let him, so sometimes it mysteriously goes missing for a day or two!"

Lennon was determined to walk
Lennon was determined to walk -Credit:Family Fund

But while adults might treat Lennon differently it is not the case with many children who give the youngster the chance to play the same as any other child. Emma said: "We were gifted grants towards family holidays by Family Fund, and every time he ends up becoming a mini-celebrity!

"Kids will come up to us and ask us about him – why he’s in his wheelchair or why he isn’t talking, but then we just explain and they involve him in their play. They want him to come to the disco with them, they throw balls to him in the pool.

"Children don’t care about the difference – they want to include him. These moments make me really emotional. He’s having fun and that’s exactly how it should be."

Lennon loves the family trips
Lennon loves the family trips -Credit:Family Fund

But Emma says it can be hard. She said: "You have great days, weeks and months as a parent of a child with additional needs. But when you have those bad days, weeks and months, sometimes life can feel really unfair. Sometimes I just feel angry at the world.

"I worry about Lennon’s future, what happens when he finishes education, and what the world holds for him. We want him to experience everything, and have the same opportunities as other children.

"He’s bigger than me now, but he’s developmentally like an 18 month old – you can imagine how difficult it can be to keep him and others safe. I can be angry for Lennon when we receive funny looks or rude remarks out in public."

And the costs are much higher for raising a child with a disability. Emma said: "We had to fundraise to build a wet room for Lennon. We need to pay for his nappies (Lennon is incontinent), new bedding to replace soiled bedding, constant washing of bedding, private physiotherapy too.

Lennon at Chester half marathon
Lennon at Chester half marathon -Credit:Family Fund

But through it all Lennon has shown repeatedly his courage. Emma said: "When Lennon was a toddler, we were told he’d never walk or talk. It was almost like he was written off by the professionals, but when he was around eight-years-old, after a lot of investing in physiotherapy, he started to walk.

"Lennon is an inspiration to all of us. He has that fight in him. He was always looking up at people before he could walk short distances, and now he is on their level."

She added: "Sometimes, you have to advocate for your child, challenge and put up a fight. You have to want more out of life, for your family and for your children.”

Many family holidays as well as equipment have been funded by Family Fund, the UK’s largest grant-making charity for disabled and seriously ill children and young people. Established in 1973, it support families to have the same opportunities as others through grants for essential items such as kitchen appliances, clothing, bedding, sensory toys, computers and tablets, much-needed family breaks and more.

Last year Family Fund provided 173,756 grants and services worth over £32 million to families across the UK. For more details about the fund visit here.