Three-year-old Ernie has blurred sight and only a little hearing, and he also has Down’s syndrome. Ernie has low muscle tone all over his body, making big movements such as walking hard work. His weak muscles also make it very hard for him to shape his mouth into words. And when he began learning to sign, he didn’t have enough strength or co-ordination.
How Sense is helping Ernie
Ernie’s favourite person is his twin brother, Ted. Ernie’s family support worker noticed that while Ted was chatting away, Ernie would point at everything and make sounds – trying to be understood. So she suggested they come to Twiglets, our weekly pre-school group at the Woodside Family Centre, for some messy play therapy.
By pushing his fingers into modelling clay, blowing bubbles and decorating balloons, Ernie began to exercise the muscles he needs to sign, speak and eventually write. To his parents’ delight, he recently spoke his first word- “Ted”.
“Thanks to Sense, Ernie can make himself understood and doesn’t feel frustrated or left out. He has come so far that he has even been moved into the same nursery class as Ted. It makes them so happy to be together.”
Helen and Richard, Ted and Ernie’s parents
Your gift of £15 will pay for arts and crafts materials for deafblind children to use during one messy play session.
First published: Friday 20 May 2016
Updated: Friday 20 May 2016