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Sabina Clark of Mini Shooting Stars writes:
My daughter Aleyah was born premature at 36 weeks weighing 2.01kg and was in special care for two and a half weeks, we didn’t realise that a year later she would be affected by a developmental delay, she was not walking at 18 months and the doctors put it down to a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, she required early intervention, lots of physio and needed to wear AFOs (Ankle foot Orthotic) as well as needing a walking aid. We were told there was a chance she might not walk. In an unknown situation we could only hope that early intervention would result in progression. When we were not at Physio we would take Ally to the swimming pool for an hour and get her to kick around in the water, when we couldn’t get to the pool we used the bath tub at home, every second counted and was essential in decreasing the muscle tone in her legs. Six months later, 2 weeks before she turned two she took her first step unaided! The next few months were followed with extreme optimism as she grew in confidence as well as in skills. Four and a half years on and she still require orthotics in her shoe, but it doesn’t stop her from being active, she loves swimming and climbing up trees. Just before she turned 6 her father took her to the Dandenong Ranges to tackle the 1,000 steps of the Kokoda Walk.
Last year I put together Mini Shooting Stars a basketball training program for children of all abilities, encouraging children with additional needs to partake in a mainstream sport. We have been supported greatly by the Eastern Recreation & Leisure Services. Our program is an introduction to basketball and is low-key. We work on the fundamentals of passing, dribbling, catching and shooting, as well as teaching children how to work as part of a team. We are based in Melbourne and further information can be found on our website www.minishootingstars.com.au
A month ago I made contact with L’il Aussie Prems who provide online support to families of premature children which was created by a mum like myself after her experience of giving birth to her son thirteen weeks too early. The site features inspirational stories & photos as well as a large community forum encompassing amazing tales of survival, offering support and understanding from other parents. Families are encouraged to express their views & share their experiences in a warm and friendly online community.
Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is an Australia charity founded in 2005 by a group of mothers who all had personal experiences of giving birth early. The Foundation is dedicated to providing information and support, specifically tailored to families of children born premature or sick. The Foundation’s services are available in the hospital (neonatal and special care units) and in the community when families come home. The Foundation also works alongside L’il Aussie Prems as online support partners.
It’s great that parents are working together to support parents, there are community initiatives out there wanting to help families from the arrival of their baby to supporting their first day at school, and giving children of all abilities the opportunity to lead a healthy, happy, and inclusive life.