Maddy was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy hemiplegia at 6 months. Tess described the diagnosis as “Just daunting. When you are first told, everything stops. It’s through talking to other people that you see there is hope and encouragement”.

Tess found this encouragement and support from talking to another parent who had an 8 year old child with Cerebral palsy hemiplegia. To be able to look ahead to the possibilities for Maddy enabled Maddy’s family to work towards realising some of those possibilities.

Tess and her family were initially told that Maddy would never ride a bike or walk properly but through talking to other parents Tess gained an insight into what other families had achieved through ongoing therapy and support.

Once Maddy started primary school however the lack of ongoing and consistent therapy was apparent and it was Maddy’s paediatrician who recommended Kid Plus.

Through attending the therapy on a weekly basis with the same therapists, Maddy and her family have developed a relationship with the therapist that enables consistency of treatment. “Seeing the same therapist each week makes a huge difference as you don’t have to continually backtrack or recap where Maddy is at. “It makes all the difference,” says Tess.

Tess and her family also find that through that consistency in the therapy they are able to build a relationship with the therapist, which makes it easier to approach the therapists with any questions or concerns. Maddy sees the occupational and physiotherapists on a regular basis.

The therapy she has received through Kids Plus has made so many things possible for Maddy. Being able to do her own hair and get herself ready for school each day mean Maddy can now do things like go on school camp. Something Tess never envisaged Maddy doing. She can put on her own shoes, socks and leg brace without assistance, dry herself after bathing and she has recently progressed to using a knife and fork. “As a parent it can be difficult to stop yourself from jumping in if you see your child struggling with a task”.

Tess feels the therapy program has increased her own confidence in Maddy’s capability and helps her maintain a positive attitude when it comes to thinking about what Maddy can achieve for herself in the future. “I used to watch Maddy trying to do things like dry herself after a bath and I would just want to help. Now I have confidence in the therapy and I have learned to sit back and let her do things for herself.”

Beyond the increased physical capability, Tess sees the positive changes in Maddy’s personality and a willingness to take on new things. “She’s come out of her shell because she realises she can do things she couldn’t do previously and she’s more confident.”

Tess readily acknowledges there is never a dull moment and there are days when Maddy is not so keen on attending therapy and again, Tess has nothing but praise for the way the therapists engages with Maddy when she is having one of those days. “They give us space to talk to Maddy and explain why she needs to keep going”.

However Tess also acknowledges that the difficult days pale in significance when she looks at how far Maddy has come and how much her confidence has increased since becoming involved in Kids Plus. Tess sum’s it up very simply “There is so much Maddy can do because of Kids Plus Therapy Program”

by Jen Fitzgerald