Our son Charlie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 18 months. Since then we have had to learn about his condition and try, as a family, to come to terms with it and the ongoing impact it has on all our lives. When you have a disabled child, it can be hard not to feel isolated and different from the other 'normal' families around you. You also have the worry of what the future holds for your child and what you should be doing to help them.
We were very relieved to find out about Steps when Charlie had just turned 4, because we knew that we would meet other families who had children with cerebral palsy and that it would be an ideal environment for Charlie to learn new skills and mix with children who had problems similar to his. It was very good timing because he had started to become more aware of his condition and realised that he was not as able as his baby sister and friends at nursery school, and had started to ask questions like, 'Why have I got this and not my cousin?' and 'When will the cerebral palsy go away?' It was so helpful to have the support of the staff at Steps around this stage, as it was quite a tough time for us.
Charlie has been going to Steps for seven years now, and I have to say that the help and support we have had from the staff has been a real lifeline for us. All the team are so encouraging and enthusiastic and they put so much effort in to making the sessions fun for the children, even when they are challenging them. They always make you feel welcome and are ready to offer advice or give help if you need it. There is always a chance for the parents to get together and have a chat, which is sometimes just what you need to get you through a tough week.
I would say to anyone who is considering bringing their child along to Steps that you won't find anywhere else like it. It is unique and we feel very privileged that we have been able to be part of the 'Steps Family' for so long.
Thank you for all you have done for our family.
Fiona (Charlie's mum)