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Family Stories

A boy watching as someone holds an apple.

Our Families

We are so proud of all of our children, their families and their many incredible achievements. We are delighted to share just some of their stories. Please get in touch with us if you would like to find out more about our charity and our services.

  • Adonis picture
    Adonis's Story

    "My one year old son Adonis lives with Down Syndrome and Hirschsprung's Disease, and rocks a Ileostomy bag. We have been coming to Conductive Education sessions at Footprints since 2023, and I've recently become one of Footprints new volunteers in their Support Services team, helping to organise and run events.

    Before I found Footprints, I spent so long grieving for the future I thought my son, Adonis, would have. I remember being so uncertain of what he would be capable of and how drastically different our lives would be to what I had pictured. Adonis has Down Syndrome and Hirschsprung’s Disease, which has set him back quite a bit developmentally, and caused him to have an ileostomy formed.

    Being a new parent is challenging enough and I remember how daunting it was trying to figure that out, alongside learning how to be a carer and a teacher for my child considering his additional needs.

    Footprints has made me hopeful for that future I was once grieving for, and seeing the older children transition into school makes me so excited for Donny’s future now! They have taught us so much, supported my family emotionally and been there for us at some of the toughest times in Adonis’ journey.

    I asked myself how I could give back to such a wonderful charity, so that’s when I decided to give my time volunteering to help with events and put my skills to work!

    I am so thankful to have been introduced to Footprints by another parent and I always think how different our lives would be without the staff, the parents and the truly inspirational children who attend!"

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  • Alistair's Story

    “My five year old son Alistair lives with Down Syndrome and he has benefited from Conductive Education, delivered by Footprints, once a week since he was six months old. The Conductive Education approach considers all aspects of Alistair’s development in one place rather than in isolation. And it makes complete sense."

    The Conductive Education approach also enables me as a parent and the education team to understand Alistair’s whole personality better. Therefore we can be a more effective support for him. When Alistair was very young, there were some aspects of Conductive Education that I didn’t quite understand the reason behind. But, now he’s older, I fully appreciate that all the prior learning were building blocks to enable him to develop as a whole individual and give him the greatest chance of reaching his potential.

    Alistair’s achievements are examples of what can be achieved when appropriate and effective support is provided and when a child is believed in. Alistair has started school and my greatest hope is that the Conductive Education approach continues to be implemented as integral to his learning. Thank you to Footprints CEC for believing in and delivering Conductive Education. Our family are incredibly grateful.”

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  • Isla's Story

    “Isla was born prematurely at 23 weeks and had a very eventful NICU stay, suffering from a range of illnesses, such as NEC and a perforated bowel, ROP, prolonged jaundice, PDA, chronic lung disease (Isla came home on oxygen for the first 8 months) and bilateral brain bleeds which ultimately led to Isla’s diagnosis of cerebral palsy."

    Since leaving hospital in October 2019, Isla had not met key milestones, such as rolling, sitting, standing and crawling. We were first told about Footprints by Isla’s physio and occupational therapist. We thought it would be a great opportunity to help Isla develop, do some therapy while she was with other children and have the chance for us as parents to get advice and support.

    For Isla, the Conductive Education sessions have been fantastic. She enjoys the sessions, they are individualised, highly engaging but also work her hard and provide excellent therapy for her. Isla has been working on her own specific targets which we try to work on at home when doing her therapy during the other week days.

    Isla enjoys seeing the other children and watching them, this has also helped her to progress. Having the equipment at Footprints, such as the horizontal rod to support with sitting, the walking ladder and all the engaging toys, really helps Isla to progress. The things that the team focus on are really in line with Isla’s other therapists, such as using buttons to convey a message or make a toy work. Isla enjoys the themes of the sessions too.

    For me, it has been great to have experienced staff to speak to about various things. For example, Isla was dribbling lots and the staff recommended we look into patches which stopped her excess saliva. We wouldn’t have known about these without the staff’s input. It has also been good to meet other parents and children with special needs.

    We do Footprints once a week and it’s a real highlight of the week, as we both get so much out of it and a lovely chance for me to spend 1:1 time with Isla.”

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  • Jesse's Story

    "Jesse and I started coming to Footprints when Jesse was around 6 months old, over 4 years ago now.  At that time, I felt desperate to find ways to help Jesse and to do as much as I could to assist him and find positive interventions as early as possible. Jesse was born prematurely, after complications during pregnancy and birth, and he was given a very bleak prognosis." 

    We were about to leave hospital when we were told Jesse had severe bilateral brain damage/Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) – which is a type of brain injury most common in premature babies. 

    We were told that Jesse was likely to have a number of physical and learning difficulties and may develop epilepsy.  We were also told he wouldn’t be able to do things that parents generally take for granted, that he would be unlikely to be able to see, hear, eat, walk or talk. I knew from that day my life was going to be very different to what I had anticipated and hoped for our family, and full of challenges.

    A little before Jesse was 2, he was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy.  Jesse has surprised and amazed everyone (including professionals) with how bright he is and the things he can do.  He brings joy to whoever he meets, he is such a beautiful soul.  But Jesse is differently abled, he is not neurotypical, and he has a number of physical and communication difficulties, which means he need a lot of assistance in all aspects of daily life.

    I obviously want to do my best for Jesse and give him as many opportunities as possible and Footprints is one of the ways I am able to do that.  At Footprints Jesse gets the chance to work on physical, communication, social, general development and life skills.  The sessions are also really enjoyable and Jesse and I have made friends through the sessions and also received physical, emotional and social support from the friends we have made, the conductors and the wider Footprints team.”

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  • Sebastian's Story

    “We first contacted Footprints after being given a leaflet in Neonatal, as well being recommended by our community nurse. For us “wait & see” just wasn’t an option so we contacted Footprints in the hope that we would be offered some support & guidance in this new world we found ourselves a part of."

    Conductive Education has had a huge impact on both my child and our family, the sessions have been the one constant for us.

    Sebastian has made huge gains since finding support at Footprints. He has defied the odds in his physical development going from strength to strength and we have learned to have a much more positive outlook – we now talk about “when” rather than “if” and never lose hope.

    Sebastian is given so many opportunities to communicate and proves week on week that just because he is non-verbal it does not mean that he doesn’t have anything to say. In fact, I’m sure anyone that works with Sebastian will agree that in fact he has an awful lot to say!

    We are never judged and will be eternally grateful for the positive and empowering experiences Sebastian has all thanks to Footprints CEC.”

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