. . . Be a carrier . .
Our daughter Coreena Chaplin was born in Coraki, NSW Australia, while we were on our third overseas trip in our Schooner 'Coreena'. The boat's name-sake joined the crew at 4 days old. At 11 months she had her big introduction to ocean cruising, crossing the Tasman Sea heading home to New Zealand.
were aware that Coreena hadn't continued
making the usual developments aged about 14
began attending the Fitzgerald Centre in
Auckland in June 1979 and was always just
labelled as Intellectually Handicapped.
We continued living on board until
Coreena was three and a half years old then at
this time her father Ian and I went our
separate ways. We had remained friends since
meeting in 1971.
transferred to Somerville School aged 6-7
years, attending there until 16.
Must have been starting life 'afloat' )
'Coreena' 38 ft.
In September 1993 we left Auckland and moved to Whangarei.
Coreena attended Blomfield School for four years and was presented her leaving certificate the day after turning 21. The Rett Syndrome diagnosis was made in Nov. 1997, (when Dr Witt Engerstrom visited N Z from Sweden). This was the month before Coreena's 21st birthday. Going from NO diagnosis ... to MAYBE Rett ... to NOT Rett ... to definately Rett Syndrome was an emotional roller-coaster ride.
After a gap of 13 years ... 2 days before my
birthday in 1989, my new daughter
Stephanie is now 12 and has always been my
sweetest friend, my shoulder to cry on, my
support and much more ... (Sadly her dad
Phillip died in 1992. )
After Coreena was diagnosed I searched the web
for "Rett" and found the International Rett
Syndrome Association ....
... with amazing coverage of the Syndrome and
links to more sites. I signed on to
Club Rett which then had about 100
members. In this simple act of
subscribing, I have something I had hunted,
for twenty years, the support and
understanding, for the first time in Coreena's
life, not just for her having Rett, but
support for Stephanie and myself.
In 1999 and 2000 Coreena did a Life-skills
course at Northland Polytecnic. She loved the
variety of things that were covered, including
gym, cooking and visits to St John Ambulance,
Rescue helicopter and Police Station, etc. She
is very mobile but only has about 20 words to
her speaking. (Mostly single syllable).
Coreena can not write but will hold a pen and
make scribbles and she will glue pre-cut
pictures. She will also get her
self a drink, including taking a cap off a
bottle and pouring, or turning a tap on/off. I
have to remember not to leave the cookie jar
on the bench, she can open that. No bowl of
fruit ... if she doesn't empty it, she'll at
least take a bite out of every piece of
We have learnt Coreena responds best to brief 'messages'.
"Car - Coreena "... she'll go out and get in.
If one door is locked, after a little
hesitation, she will walk around and try the
other side. Also " Toilet Coreena - bed " and
she will do exactly that. She certainly
One of my current projects is writing about our tales from nearly 10 years on the yacht, cruising New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. I was the navigator. I have a link to one chapter on my home page. There are about 15 (chapters) at this stage. I dabble on the computer in the advertising scene, mainly for Coreena's uncle Donald's Photography Business. There is the endless task of following the Family Tree and my Stamp Collection gets a look in, in my 'spare' time. :-)
time has been developing the
Special RETT ANGELS Birthday Calendar Site,
Coreena has been home full time since finishing at Polytech and still enjoys her videos, music and doing a lot of 'watching' people and things going on around her. Her health is excellent.
December 17th 2005 she celebrated her 29th birthday.
16 August 2006