Meet Olivia

Charity Registration Number: 1045077

We are delighted to announce that The Kentown Wizard Foundation will be supporting Stick ‘n’ Step with a further grant towards the costs of providing conductive education to children and young people with cerebral palsy throughout the North West. We already know that conductive education changes lives but we were thrilled to receive this feedback from Olivia who explains in a little more detail just how important Stick ‘n’ Step has been to her.

Stick ‘n’ Step has supported Olivia for more than 17 years. She was born prematurely and spent the first 9 weeks in hospital in an incubator, needing oxygen and being tube fed. Following a hospital review visit, Olivia was diagnosed at 8 months old with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. Luckily Mum and Dad (Janice and Ian) heard about Stick ‘n’ Step from the parents of another child who was attending the centre and were delighted when Olivia was accepted on to the programme for twice-weekly conductive education sessions.

Janice said “At this stage, we were looking for ways to help Olivia improve her gross motor skills and although her muscle tone and movement were quite good, her lower limbs were weak. We wanted to give Olivia the best chance of being independently mobile and to be motivated to do things for herself.”

Olivia was just four years old when she started attending Stick ‘n’ Step and when asked what she remembers about her first few weeks at the centre she said “I was very shy as a young child so I remember feeling quite intimidated when I first came. I didn’t properly understand why I was coming, but that feeling was only short-lived as I soon got to know all the staff and the other children in my group. It is a very friendly, welcoming place where I felt comfortable and safe. Being able to be independent and getting to try out things like rock climbing that I had never done before, was just brilliant. I enjoy any activity that gets my adrenaline going!”

In terms of improving gross motor skills over the years, Olivia learned to step on and off boxes, step through a floor ladder and sidestep using parallel bars. She has learned how to transfer her weight so that she can get from her wheelchair to a car or other chair and has developed her independent living skills. This includes self-care and practical things like using a washing machine, ironing, cleaning windows, cooking, using keys, and grasping a hairbrush to do her own hair.

Not only that but Olivia recently graduated from Leeds University with a 2:1 degree in Linguistics and Phonetics and whilst at University, carried on visiting Stick ‘n’ Step for her Saturday morning session whenever she could.

When asked what difference Stick ‘n’ Step has made to her life and that of her family Olivia said “The team at Stick ‘n’ Step have just been amazing. Nothing is ever too much trouble, and they definitely go above and beyond their normal duties to make sure everybody is happy, fulfilled, and achieving their goals. No issue was ever too small or too big to discuss with them, and in the past, I have approached them to talk about things that I was too scared to talk to my family about. The charity has also been a great support for my parents too. It helped them to better understand my condition and learn about the best ways to deal with it. They felt less alone and knowing that there were other parents who they could share their concerns and experiences with, really helped them.

She added “Whenever I come back after I have missed a few weeks, I feel so much stiffer, and I really benefit from the stretching and other activity tasks which help improve my mobility. Also, it’s great to be able to catch up with the classroom staff and the other girls in the group!”

 

“I will never be able to thank Stick ‘n’ Step enough… They have been incredibly supportive over many years and have helped to shape the person I have become.”

  

 

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