Crime writer Ian Rankin tells of 'tough' situation being unable to hug disabled son

Best-selling crime writer Ian Rankin has described the “tough” situation of being unable to touch or hug his disabled son for almost a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rankin said his son Kit, who has the genetic condition Angelman syndrome, does not understand the circumstances but is well looked after by staff at his care facility, where he has a safe and “pretty full life.”

In an interview with Times Radio, Rankin highlighted the difficulties faced by families with vulnerable relatives.

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“We’ve seen images on TV and we’ve heard from people about the problems they have visiting elderly relatives, but there are lots of us out there that have less elderly relatives who are also in full-time care and it’s tough on these families as well,” he said.

“My son Kit doesn’t really know what the situation is. Luckily he’s surrounded by staff who are looking after him 24/7 and making sure he has a pretty full life.

“But the families haven’t been allowed to visit much.

“In general we see him through a gate, we see him over the wall, there’s no touching, there’s no hugs.”

Rankin said Kit’s carers have offered contact with him through Zoom, but due to his visual impairment that is not practical.

Ian Rankin with his son Kit. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/ TSPL

“He doesn’t really understand screens or things in two dimensions like picture books and suchlike,” he said.

“He could hear our voices but then he was just confused because then where were we? Why were we not giving him a hug sitting next to him?

“It was working for some of the people in his facility but it wasn’t really helpful for him.

“Last summer when he was being taken out into the garden a lot, we said ‘if we came and looked over the wall would that be okay?’ and the staff consulted and said there was no problem with that.

“We moved that to looking through a gate so we were a little bit closer to him, and that’s basically been it.

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