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The Little Mermaid

Elizabeth is a social and outgoing three year old from Wauchope who likes babies and tutus.

She has an acquired brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy. This means she has delayed speech, poor balance and is unable to walk.

First Elizabeth tried a Rawson Chair and Table as she couldn’t sit up by herself. ‘The chair was brilliant because she could sit up with the help of the little leg wraps and she had her hands free for us to give her toys, or to paint, draw or do her therapy. It was a godsend that she could be able to sit and not focus on trying to stay up but could focus on her hands.’

When Elizabeth was one, TAD provided a standing frame, which allowed her to stand for the first time and develop her knowledge and understanding of what it meant to stand up.

Physically it was good for her bone density and helped build her muscles. Emotionally it built her confidence and helped her fear of falling.

After using the standing frame for a while, Elizabeth started trying to pull herself up on furniture. Now she’s starting to learn how to use a walking frame.

The third item was an Access Platform and Rail which she uses in the bathroom and an extended table and chair which is great because her feet are flat while she sits. This gives her more stability and balance through her whole body.

When Elizabeth started to sit, Amanda and her therapists had to make a choice if they let her ‘W sit’ independently, or make her sit properly but with assistance. They decided to let her W sit which meant when she started to try to walk, her feet were turned.

So local Port Macquarie Group volunteer, Mayo Brumby, with instruction from the OT, made her a tight suit to make her sit with her feet in a neutral position.

In order to make it more appealing, Mayo turned it into a little mermaid suit with a tail and sequins. The suit is for therapy but Elizabeth wears it and pretends she’s a fish.

Amanda says, ‘I definitely couldn’t fault the TAD equipment and recommend it to other families. It is so well made, is safe and has a beautiful finish. The local volunteers personalise it to her physical needs and size but also can paint it with hand prints, put glitter on it so it looks like a fun piece specially for that child. The leg straps on Elizabeth’s standing frame have steel poles for correct positioning of her legs but the volunteers used pink fabric and made them frilly because Elizabeth loves her girly things. It makes it so much more appealing.’

Elizabeth went on to get a custom designed Freedom Wheels bike so she could ride independently with her siblings.

‘Elizabeth would not be where she is now without the equipment from TAD.  The volunteers are brilliant.’

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