Dave Barker, 67
Matthew has Down’s syndrome and has lived with me and his mother all his life. As we’re now separated, he lives with me every other week. Overall he is a joy, a tonic, and makes people laugh. He loves monsters, gorillas and angels, and spends hours writing weird prose about witches and zombies. We watch a superhero film together once a week and make pizza. Matthew works as a cleaner for two hours at the local leisure centre and has one friend he sees regularly.
Over the years, the lack of true independence has been hard for me and the constant demanding conversation can be exhausting. I also worry about his health – we are friends and often behave like brothers, but I won’t be able to look after him when I’m older and that makes me sad.
Matthew, my brother and I also have our own rock’n’roll band; Matthew plays the drums. We play the Rolling Stones and the Beatles at family gatherings – at the moment we’re practising for his 40th birthday party. It’s a great feeling when we’re playing music on stage together.
Matthew Barker, 39
I live with my dad every other week. Sometimes I have a beer with him and we watch films and TV shows. We also play music together. Sometimes I also DJ at a disco.
I also like to write stories – I’ve been on the typewriter today. We make dinner here together and I like that, too. Dad brings me a cup of tea in the morning and sometimes I take him a cup of tea on his birthday.
We’re going on holiday to Brighton in February to do a pub crawl. I’m looking forward to it. It’s never difficult living with my dad.
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