A life-limited Burton-on-Trent two-year-old will receive an extra special Christmas present after a national children’s disability charity helped his parents discover exactly what he responds to – just in time to tell Santa.
Little Harry Annable from Horninglow recently received the first Play Therapy Pod for children aged 18 months to three years after Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness, added under three age groups to their existing Play Therapy Pod service.
Harry has the brain condition Polymicrogyria which has resulted in seizures, loose floppy muscles so he can’t sit without support and learning difficulties, as well as the heart condition Pulmonary Vein Stenosis. He had already received a special buggy through an emergency loan service operated by Newlife when mum, Kerry, spotted details about the extended range of Play Therapy Pods on the charity’s twitter account.
Free of charge and loaned for between 12 and 16 weeks, the Play Therapy Pods are aimed at stimulating senses as well as helping children be comforted and distracted from pain through play. Now with the help of a dedicated play therapist, Newlife has extended the range with Play Therapy Pods suitable for birth to 18 months and 18 months to three years, with each containing visual, auditory, tactile and interactive toys.
Harry’s mum, Kerry, said: “Harry absolutely loves some of the toys in the pod, which is great for letting us know what he likes and giving us ideas for Christmas – in fact some have already been ordered!
“Special needs toys and equipment are terribly expensive and it’s a lot of money to spend if they aren’t right for your child, so this is a chance to try them out first and see which they respond to. We are really grateful to Newlife and Harry is getting a lot of enjoyment from them.”
The special toys from the pod are also helping Harry play with his brothers Charlie, aged five, and Thomas, aged 11.
Kerry added: “Charlie was very eager to show Harry how all the toys worked when they arrived and it gives them the chance to really play together!”
Application forms for Play Therapy Pods are available online by going to www.newlifecharity.co.uk. Further information about Play Therapy Pods is available from or by contacting the charity’s Care Services Team on 0800 902 0095 (free from UK landlines and mobiles).
Pictured: Harry Annable