I’m Mechelle. Chloe is my youngest child, she’s three and a half. She has an older brother and sister, who are 11 and 13.
Chloe’s a very chatty, happy girl. She goes to nursery four mornings a week. She very rarely makes four mornings, but we do try.
She was born prematurely at 28 weeks and five days. The doctors weren’t sure she would survive. She had three different operations before she had even reached term age, the biggest one being heart bypass. She had meningitis and sepsis when she was first born as well.
So after all her surgeries, they did routine scans and they discovered that she had quite severe brain damage, so when she wasn’t hitting her milestones we knew she had cerebral palsy. Chloe’s cerebral palsy is quite severe. It affects her every day, with every aspect of her life. I don’t think there’s anything about her that isn’t affected by it.
I first heard about Cerebral Palsy Scotland on a Facebook group. Someone had shared a link, and when I saw they were offering places for kids in my area, I pretty much clicked on the link and applied there and then.
The sessions were so relaxed, like you didn’t even feel like you were doing therapy if that makes sense. It was more just like play for Chloe. We had so much fun. There were so many times when she was chatting and giggling.
They showed me how to roll her from side to side, and how to sit her up from lying down. Plus one of the things we worked on a lot was choosing.
Chloe has a severe visual impairment, so she can’t really see at all. But she can make her own decisions – and this was something that I didn’t even realise she was able to do. So we would put two sound-related toys on either side of her, and it was really fun to watch her move her head from side-to-side between the two and then make her choice.
We also worked with switches and switch-adapted toys – again that was something else that I didn’t know she could do. In one of the sessions, we were playing with a fire engine toy and it was really, really noisy and Chloe was in hysterics. You could see that she was trying to move her hand to press the switch because she wanted to do it all again. It was really special just to watch her, you could see her trying to press the switch again. So I went home and told absolutely everyone about that!
I think that our approach has been completely different since going to Cerebral Palsy Scotland. Most of what I do now with Chloe is what I’ve learnt from those sessions
The therapists at Cerebral Palsy Scotland showed us that she can do way more than we were giving her any kind of credit for. So it was really good, it opened up our eyes.
I think as a family it showed us there are ways that we can make the most out of Chloe’s skills and the abilities she does have. It’s all about quality of life and all these little things contribute to that. She’s much happier and she’s actually engaging now because we’re allowing her to be part of things rather than just doing things for her.