Cerebral Palsy

Preparing for primary school

“We were given a Novochat machine on loan, the different in Ciaran’s life in that month was amazing.”

Ciaran’s mum Jacqui shares her family’s experience of the Right Start project and how it’s helping Ciaran get ready for his first day at big school.

“Ciaran has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. When he was born the doctors weren’t sure if he would walk. He does walk, loves playing, but he does struggle with his speech. We understand a bit, but we don’t get a lot and he gets very frustrated. As part of his preparation for school we were given a Novochat machine on loan. The difference in Ciaran’s life in that month was amazing. Anything we didn’t understand he could get the machine and bring it over to us.

He loves nursery and does really well, everyone understands him and all the other kids rally around if he needs help.   He should use his frame for walking but he’s reluctant to use it because none of the other kids do. We started taking him to Frame Football, where all the kids use one and he’s adapting to it better. It’s great for him to see there are other people out there the same as him and he’s not the only one.

Ciaran - story photo

Ciaran doesn’t like change and so the school have arranged for him to have extra settling in sessions every week until he starts in August. His OT and physio have been to the school and are compiling their recommendations. They’ve already spoken to me about wedge cushions for his back and the floor so he can sit comfortably, yet not look different from the other children.

He’s taking part in the Right Start programme. His goals are to work on his balance, posture and speech. Ciaran struggles with his hands, some days he can open them, other days he can’t. At Bobath he’s learning to pull his trousers down so he can go to the toilet himself. He’s also learning to drink through a straw. And at home he can now go up the stairs holding onto the bannister. The difference in him is amazing.

I used to have to help him around the soft play, four weeks after his therapy he held his hand up and told me he was going around on his own. It’s given him confidence, shown him how to correct things on his own very easily, and given him greater strength in his body. All round he’s coping a lot better.”

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