Fraser’s mum Kirstie explains the impact Cerebral Palsy Scotland therapy sessions have had on Fraser and the family.
At the beginning of the pandemic Fraser was put on the shielding list, so during the lockdowns face-to-face things just stopped for him. We weren’t able to get out or visit friends and family, which we would do regularly. It was stressful for all of us, trying to keep him safe. Normally he is such a happy, lively wee thing, but over lockdown there was no life about him at all – the spark was gone. Fraser just wasn’t Fraser anymore.
We began to struggle to get Fraser to do physio ourselves. He is only three, so he found it hard engaging with his therapists virtually – we went from doing quite regular physio sessions to nothing at all. It has a massive impact on the whole family, when you see somebody disappear like that. His physical side and his emotional side had gone right downhill.
He was stuck in his chair a lot, and his legs started to seize up. We couldn’t get his legs to straighten up and over the second lockdown in particular he was becoming really sore. He used to love going into his standing frame, but then he couldn’t tolerate it anymore. It was heart-breaking – he had lost his enjoyment of it, as well as the skill.
That’s when we approached Cerebral Palsy Scotland – we were at utter panic-stations to be honest. We had been for therapy sessions at the centre before, and had gone to the baby group, and we had always had such a good experience there. They had never written him off. They find a way. They give it a try.
At the beginning of the first session with Leen, Fraser didn’t want to engage. But by the end of that session she was getting him up on his feet. Over the sessions, Leen showed us how to do some very gradual, gentle standing techniques with Fraser. Now we’re able to have Fraser in his standing frame for 40 minutes, which for the past year has been absolutely unheard of. He’s loving it now – standing up, smiling – you start to see your wee boy come back again.
We had got an adapted trike for Fraser, and Leen also got that set up for him so it was suitable. She put me in touch with a company that provide adaptations for trikes, so we can improve it even further. So now he’s getting out on that at home and playing outside with his sister on her bike – it’s brilliant.
We also worked on different ways I can support his head to help him use his switch-operated bubble machine and other toys. I had thought he had lost that ability, but Leen showed me a slightly different way to support his head, so he’s able to use his switch toys again. We also got lots of fresh tips from Claire about using his eye gaze communication aid, as well as advice from the team about selecting a new specialist seat for Fraser.
The team have also built really good relationships with Fraser’s local therapists, so it’s great to have them as part of a bigger team and for everyone to work together.
Going to Cerebral Palsy Scotland gives us fresh ideas and a bit of hope. They show you how to make physio fun, so it’s just play and Fraser doesn’t even realise he’s doing it. Fraser’s just a different boy now. He’s got his spark back – he’s full of beans and daftness. Now he’s enjoying life, it makes things better for the whole family.