Ian Rankin's brooding Scottish Inspector John Rebus has solved numerous mysteries, puzzlers and mind games over the course of 20 years in 16 novels on the U.K. best-seller lists, but how to best care for a son with special needs wasn't one of them.
|At a glance|
That task fell to Rankin and his wife Miranda when their youngest son Kit, now 12, was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by little or no speech, jerky motor skills but a generally happy disposition with frequent smiles and laughter.
The Rankins lived on the edge without any emergency fund while Ian struggled to survive as a novelist, first in London, then rural France. They moved back to Edinburgh in 1996, where Ian was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2002.
Today, Rankin is proud not only to have succeeded beyond his wildest expectations as a perennial top seller in the U.K., but to have provided the deep emergency fund that will attend to Kit's special needs for the rest of his life.
How is Kit doing these days?
He's all right. He's still not walking, doesn't talk, can't communicate, but life is still a ball. Everything he does in life is exciting and humorous to him, whether it's just watching noisy buses going past, going to a cafe where music is being played and people are being loud, going swimming or just walking down by the canal. We take him horseback riding on Saturdays, to a special-needs riding unit on the edge of the city. He has a ball. It's not well known; I don't know how many examples of Angelman Syndrome there are in the world. There are a couple of hundred in the U.K.