In Story

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Bittersweet

Maddison is the first born of our twins. At ten days old Maddison suffered a brain hemorrhage and was diagnosed as having a spontaneous left-sided intraventricular bleed. We were fortunate in that Maddison did not require any surgical intervention while at The Royal Children’s and her hydrocephalus stabilized shortly after her release from hospital.

While in hospital we were told by the neonatologists’ the worst case scenario about Maddison’s possible development and what that meant for her quality of life. We were devastated but prepared to go on this journey with her. I immediately wanted to know Maddison’s long term prognosis which of course is impossible for even the most learned Doctor to predict.

Whenever her twin sister Ruby would reach a milestone it was bittersweet as it was one more thing that Maddison could not do. Although there is much written which dissuades parents in comparing twins it became obvious to us early on that Maddison was falling further behind in reaching her milestones and that she needed help.

When she was finally diagnosed with right sided Cerebral palsy I can honestly say I felt relieved. I now knew what we faced and would try to provide Maddison with whatever was needed to help her reach her full potential. While researching Cerebral palsy I noted that every book, web-page, and therapy program all supported one important factor to assisting children with Cerebral palsy – “Early Intervention!”

At 6 months old Maddison had her first Physiotherapy session at Kids Plus and this is where I believe her rehabilitation began. She has been receiving physiotherapy and occupational therapy. She is now two years old and is working hard to reach her individualized goals set out by our family and the team at Kids Plus.

It is so rewarding for us to see her reach her goals at the end of the term. It is especially rewarding for her twin sister Ruby as their play and communication between each other increases as Maddison progresses in her goals. Regular therapy means Maddison has increased opportunities to reach her goals.

The Kids Plus Foundation means that we can access therapy without the burden of financial stress. It would be heart breaking as parents if we had to decide how often we could afford to go or not be able to go each term.

As a parent, being included in the therapy sessions and learning how to move Maddison’s body for therapy means I can continue the therapy at home and between terms. In addition to therapy Kids Plus offers our family support, information sessions, equipment advice and networking with other parents.

Maddison is learning to sit unaided and strengthen her right hand in play. She is standing in her frame with her AFO’s (ankle & foot orthotics) and is practicing using words during her therapy sessions. She is feeding herself independently and is learning how to hold a cup with two hands to drink. We feel so fortunate to be part of Kids Plus and appreciate all the people and funding organisations that make therapy possible for Maddison and our family.

Penny Owens, Maddison and Ruby’s Mum