3 children you helped Sense support through lockdown

Sonny, a three year old boy, sitting in his pushchair. He wears blue sunglasses and a blue shirt

The pandemic has been particularly difficult for children with complex disabilities and their families. Read how your support for Sense has helped them through these challenging times.

You helped Sonny learn sign language

Three-year-old Sonny has epilepsy and an undiagnosed condition that affects his sight and hearing – but neither that nor lockdown has stopped him from learning new signs and growing into the cheeky, cheerful boy he is today.

Sonny’s been getting support from Sense Specialist Teacher, Liz, for two years. Sonny doesn’t speak, but with Liz’s help – and lots of support from his mum and dad – he’s starting to learn sign language. Sonny’s vision is limited so he cannot see beyond his arms reach, so Liz helped his family learn little tricks to make it easier for Sonny to see their signs. Keeping their hands close to Sonny’s face and wearing bright nail polish helps him focus. With your support, Sonny is learning to communicate with his mum, dad and grandparents. When coronavirus hit and everyone went into lockdown, much of Sonny’s other support stopped, but his mum, Julie, was grateful she could still count on Sense.

Sense were so quick to adjust to everything being online. Sonny enjoys sensory stories, song time, and lots of crafts. Sense has been phenomenal – they send out all the resources and supplies to families ahead of time so everyone can participate.”

Liz, Sonny’s mum
Sonny, a three year old boy, sitting in his pushchair. He wears blue sunglasses and a blue shirt

Greta took her first steps

Greta has CHARGE syndrome, and in addition to affecting her hearing and balance, it also means she is clinically vulnerable and had to shield for five months. Thanks to supporters like you, Sense was there to help Greta develop her communication skills and keep her mind active through online sessions. Her mum, Zoe, said: “It was great for Greta to see her friends on-screen and participate. We’d be told what props to get ready and it was always very tactile, helping children like Greta to feel involved.”

When restrictions eased, Zoe also booked in to visit Sense’s Woodside Centre with Greta. They had their own time slot and Sense staff made sure everything was safe. It was great that Greta could visit a place where the facilities were set up for her needs. Specifically, the wide corridors meant Greta could practice walking with her walker. And thanks to lots of hard work, Greta reached a huge milestone: she took her first independent steps! She was even able to start school when restrictions relaxed – you can see her heading to school with her walker – and loved it.

“Without Sense, I think we would have felt very isolated. Having Sense to offer activities and support, being able to visit the centre when we knew everything was totally safe, just knowing Sense is there for us – it means so much. Thank you to everyone who supports them.”

Zoe, Greta’s mum
Greta dressed in her school uniform, with pink shoes and marching headband. She is using a bright green walker

Gabriel is learning to recognise emotions

Three-year-old Gabriel started receiving support from Sense last year, so he’s never met his Sense Specialist Teacher, Jade, in person. But being able to access sessions online has been a real benefit. Gabriel has Down’s syndrome and is deafblind, so he struggles to understand emotions. Jade has been working on that – doing exaggerated ‘angry face’ and ‘happy face’ to music. He’s learned to recognise ‘happy’ and ‘angry’ though he still doesn’t understand the meaning behind it. With your support, that’s the next step!

If it was not for Sense, our son would not have received the right support that he needs. So to all the supporters out there, our family’s forever grateful.”

Michelle, Gabriel’s mum
Gabriel is a young boy with blond hair. He is wearing a yellow jumper with smiley faces, and posing inside a big pot in a garden centre

You can support children like Sonny, Greta and Gabriel

Your donations make a difference for children who have disabilities including Down’s syndrome, CHARGE syndrome and multi-sensory impairments. Click here to donate and help us give these children, and their families, the support they need.

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