An adapted swing, which Children Today funded, has been a “life-saver” for little Abby and her family during lockdown.
Five-year-old Abby, who lives in in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, can for the first time, enjoy being safely pushed in a specialised swing in her own garden.
The youngster has Rett syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects brain development, resulting in severe mental and physical disability, which impacts her life in a number of ways including frequent seizures, and an inability to walk, use her hands and communicate verbally.
Mum, Kelly, who described her daughter as very happy and smiley, says: “Abby, loves the sensation of swinging, but we found it was unsafe to push her in an ordinary swing as she can’t grip on.
“Abby would also lean forwards a lot, so we were worried she could fall out. We tried holding onto Abby whilst pushing her but she wasn’t getting the full experience of being in a swing.”
Children Today provided the full amount of £355.77 for Abby’s adapted swing, which holds her in so she is secure and comfortable. Kelly adds: “The harness is great because it fully holds her in and supports her and no matter what she does with her hands she’s safe in the swing. You can give her a proper push and let her enjoy it the way that other kids do.”
The adapted swing has brought lots of joy, reassurance and ease to the family as Kelly explained how simple, everyday things can prove to be difficult. She adds: “Abby can sometimes walk holding hands with two people either side of her. But even taking her out into the garden can be difficult because of the steps down.
“Being able to use the swing at home is great. Abby loves the feeling of going back and forth and feeling the wind on her face, she particularly enjoys being pushed by her big brother. She’s out there at every opportunity!”
Looking back on when the family had to isolate for two weeks, Kelly said the swing made a big difference. She says: “We didn’t leave the house at all, not even for a walk – so the swing was a life-saver.”