Ben's Story

Ben's Story  
Ben didn’t breath for seven minutes when he was born. He was diagnosed with left hemiplegiccerebral palsy which affects the left side of his body. His speech is also affected. He wearssplints on his left leg and on his arm and hand to prevent Ben’s muscles from shrinking and helps to stretch them out.

He receives Botox injects into his calf and hamstring and is now on the waiting list to have it into his arm and wrist. He receives Speech therapy and sees an occupational therapist regularly. He also chooses to do kids yoga at the local neighbourhood house which really gives his muscles a good stretch! He has a full time integration aid at school.

Ben's Grade 1 integration aid, Jill introduced Ben and I to Heartwell. She had been the aid for a child who had been involved in the Program. She had seen the benefits of the program first hand and thought it would just be perfect for Ben. Ben was being left out in the school yard and was really struggling to make friends. The kids in his class were all playing cricket or football and Ben would spend his lunch times walking around with the teacher on duty or playing by himself.

Ben has LOVED the Heartwell program since the day he started! He looks forwards to Thursdays when he has his session with Steve. I love the fact that not only is it teaching him the skills but that he really loves taking part in it. Ben's favourite is the group sessions held at Heartwell. The kids with similar abilities get together and play a game like soccer or cricket. It's not competitive and it gives the kids a chance to make friendships and have fun together!

The highlight of the year was the family bowling day. Ben was awarded with ‘Most Enthusiastic' on the day. He was presented with a trophy in front of all the kids and families. I don't think the smile left his face for a week. He was featured in the Heartwell newsletter that month. Ben took the trophy and the newsletter for show and share at school and his teacher told me the class was clapping and cheering for him. He was so proud!

I really enjoyed the family too – it gave me a chance to talk to other parents and it's really nice to be able to share stories with other parents that face similar challenges and achievements.

Ben is full of fun, adventure and determination which has helped him get to where he is today. Heartwell has really bought out these qualities in him. It has not only taught him the vital skills such as co-ordination to get him involved in school yard games like footy and cricket but has also given him confidence and improved his social skills.

We are so grateful to our wonderful sponsor. Without them there is no way that I could afford the cost of Heartwell. We cannot thank our sponsor enough for their contribution this year. It has made the biggest difference in Ben's life. It has also bought so much happiness to mine as well. It's such a sad thought to think that your child is left out and on their own at school. I am so happy to hear that now he is actively borrowing sports equipment and initiating games with other kids and getting involved.

Kristie (Ben's Mum)


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