Meet James

He is five and he has been attending our Runcorn centre for 2 years.

James spent the first 12 months of his life in hospital having been born at 24 weeks 5 days gestation and was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and cerebral palsy. Despite also being severely sight impaired James is a really sociable little boy who loves coming to Stick ‘n’ Step.  After only being with us for a few months we started toilet training with him – something his Mum didn’t think would happen for a long time. Earlier this year he started walking with his sticks and has already managed a few independent steps much to the delight of the classroom team and his parents. James himself had a beaming smile when he realised what he had achieved!

We are so grateful to the classroom team at Stick ‘n’ Step, they have definitely changed James’ life for the better and encouraged him to achieve so many things that we never thought would be possible.

Naomi, James’ mum

Meet Heidi

She started attending our Wallasey centre aged three.

Thirteen-year-old Heidi spends most of her time in a wheelchair but this hasn’t affected her long-term ambition to be an actress. Opening our second centre in Runcorn in 2017 was a real bonus for her family, as living close by, they no longer had the expense or time commitment of making a 70-mile round trip to bring their daughter for her weekly session. At school, Heidi spends all day in her wheelchair, so loves the freedom of being out of it at Stick ‘n’ Step whilst undertaking her CE sessions. Heidi is currently working on strengthening her trunk control to enable her to sit independently for longer periods of time and is learning to improve her hand/eye coordination, which will help develop her fine manipulation skills using both hands. She is also learning to design techniques to reduce involuntary movements and spasms. 

Heidi has really improved her confidence and independence since coming to Stick ‘n’ Step and without the support and encouragement of the classroom team I am certain she wouldn’t have had the courage to join a local drama school in 2017. She’s already had a non-speaking part in a film shown on CBeebies.  Ten years ago when I found the charity, I had never come across any other disabled children but through Stick ‘n’ Step I met other Mums with older children and I was able to see how well these children had done and the positive impact that  Stick ‘n’ Step has had on their lives which gave me hope for Heidi’s future.   I was very protective of Heidi when she was younger but over the years Stick ‘n’ Step has helped me to feel that I could start trust other people with Heidi.  In fact, Stick ‘n’ Step are like Heidi’s second family.

Kirsty, Heidi’s mum

Meet Harley

Twelve-year-old Harley has been attending Stick ‘n’ Step for almost 7 years.

He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy aged 11 months after his parents, Jonny and Christina realised he was struggling to crawl due to his fist being clenched most of the time.

When Harley came for his initial assessment at Stick ‘n’ Step he was unable to sit up unaided and when asked what his initial expectations were from the CE programme his Dad said “I just hoped we would be able to get some further help towards strengthening Harley’s muscles so that one day he might be able to become more mobile. The physiotherapy he was getting involved standard exercises but after talking to the team at Stick ‘n’ Step I realised the big difference here is that all the children work towards a personalised programme of activities to suit their own set of individual needs. I was also encouraged by the fact that I felt that CE would provide a better opportunity for Harley to improve his speech and communication skills”. Harley never lets his disability affect his outlook on life, he is prepared to have a go at most things! He has already told his Dad he wants to start driving, get a car, have his own house and have children……Harley certainly is a very focused 12-year-old!

Stick ‘n’ Step has made a massive difference to all of our lives. Stick ‘n’ Step gave our family hope when we didn’t have any. We felt lost walking away from the hospital that day without any support or a clear idea of how to cope. Stick ‘n’ Step has already proved that Harley can overcome some of the effects of his disabilities and I know they will continue to support him to achieve his goals, enabling him to reach his full potential and lead a full and happy life. The charity provided us with a vital support network when we needed it most and introduced us to other families who have become a whole new group of friends. 

Johnny, Harley’s dad