I CAN, the children’s communication charity, has launched a Mother’s Day campaign backed by the classic picture book Guess How Much I Love You, from Walker Books – coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the picture book.
The Mother’s Day campaign, centred around the charity’s Adopt a Word gift, asks children and adults to tell their mothers how much they love them by adopting a word describing something they love their mum more than. Mums will then receive a certificate with their adopted word on it. Their adopted words can also be printed on additional gifts such as mugs and T-shirts.
Sam McBratney, author of Guess How Much I Love You, said: "I know that this evening, somewhere in the world a mum or dad will be reading Guess with someone special, saying how they feel with the help of a phrase from the book.
"Words are central to the work of an author, of course – they are the tools of the imagination. Those same tools also help us to build strong relationship in everyday life. This Mother’s Day, by adopting a word, we have a chance to show mums how much we love them."
Reama Shearman is a parent at I CAN’s Meath School, and mother of Tait. Tait is 10 years old and has severe problems when expressing himself using speech. When Tait started at I CAN’s Meath School he was unable to say more than a few words and these were only intelligible to those that knew him.
She explained: "Guess How Much I Love You has been a much-loved book of ours. I would always try to think of a new measure of my love so that each time was different for Tait. I would often include something that he had done that week, ‘I love you a hundred lengths of the swimming pool’.
"We would always sign I love you but one day when I was putting Tait to bed, he pulled me in to hug him and said the words ‘uv you’. It was a heart-stopping moment, incomparable and one I will forever be grateful for. Now, Tait can say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’. The words might still be tricky for others to understand but for me it is incredibly powerful. On Mother’s Day morning when he brings in the card he has made at school and says the words, I will burst with pride for my son. In that moment neither he or I will have to guess how much we love each other, but it will be fun to keep guessing anyway.
"Before attending Meath School Tait was a frustrated, lonely little boy whose confidence had been damaged by his previous experience of school. For the past four years, every school day my son has thanked me for taking him to Meath and every day I am thankful to all the school staff and for I CAN."
Virginia Beardshaw CBE, I CAN chief executive, added: "Being able to express feelings with loved ones is a central part of relationships, but one in ten children in the UK will struggle to make themselves understood and their feelings known. They will have difficulties learning at school and have trouble making friends and forming relationships. These are the children that the Adopt a Word Mother’s Day campaign will help I CAN to reach – helping these children in their early years settings and schools and helping us to support their families."