Three-year-old Annie has a rare condition called CASK gene mutation. It means that her brain struggles to process information, and she has very limited sight and hearing. No one was sure what she would be able to achieve and her parents, Ali and Mike, worried that she wouldn’t be able to do anything at all.
Because of Annie’s complex needs, it can be difficult for her parents to find activities that she can enjoy and places she can go to play with other children. At the moment, Annie attends Sense’s Saturday Club, and also Sensory Explorers every Thursday. Because there is no specialist centre nearby, these groups take place in hired venues. This means that Sense staff have to take their own specialist toys to set up a sensory environment for every session, and that certain equipment can’t be used as it is too heavy to transport.
Even so, thanks to these sessions, Annie has already come such a long way. She’s begun to actively explore the environment around her, and is starting to develop communication skills – she now understands core signs like ‘hello’, ‘food’ and ‘Annie’. But for Annie to continue to develop and flourish, she will need ongoing, long-term support as she grows up.
That’s why TouchBase Pears will be so important for Annie and her family. Our new centre will be tailored to Annie’s needs and fully equipped with specialist sensory equipment that will help her develop. It will be somewhere she and her family can go for specialist advice and support; and somewhere they can relax together and meet other deafblind children.
“Having a deafblind child can feel quite lonely, but everyone at Sense is so friendly and welcoming, and makes you feel included right away. We have met lots of other families going through similar experiences, and it’s fabulous because you can share ideas, ask questions and have fun together. I think TouchBase Pears will be a really important part of the community.” Ali, Annie’s Mum
Will you support our Grand Opening Appeal so we can equip our new centre with the right toys and equipment that children like Annie need?
First published: Wednesday 27 July 2016
Updated: Tuesday 2 August 2016