It is a known fact that everyone wants to do the best for their children. Parents want to be able to provide the best that they possibly can for their child. Parents of disabled children are no different, in fact they are always looking at different ways in which they can help their children reach their potential, by looking into different equipment, alternative therapies and methods. Paul and I are no different. Several Mums on SWAN posted about their experience at Brainwave.
Brainwave is a charity that has been running for 30 years and their slogan is ‘Unlocking Children’s Potential.’ The slogan itself had engaged our interest immediately. The Brainwave Programme rests on the theory of neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity : the capacity of neurons and neural networks in the brain to change their connections and behaviour in response to new information, sensory stimulation, development, damage, or dysfunction.
Neuroplasticity, another long medical term that we could add to the ever-growing list of words that we had heard and tried to digest. Medical science aside it was the rave reviews SWAN mums were giving it that led us to filling in an application. The posts and blogs we had read were all exciting and inspiring, we felt that we didn’t have anything to lose. So without a second thought we applied online.
From research and the feedback from other Mums we soon learnt that the staff at Brainwave were qualified and experienced in physiotherapy, psychology and education. Now Isabella, as you well know has an NHS Physiotherapist that visits once every six weeks, for a short 45 minute session. From the exercises we learnt, we had a daily exercise plan in place, which included sitting and standing practice, but we were open to new ideas, and were interested in learning different ways of moving Isabella forward.
Not long after submitting the brief online application we received a telephone call from one of our therapists. The lady on the other end of the phone was very lovely, we soon learnt that any interaction with the rest of staff at Brainwave would be the same. She asked lots of questions about Isabella and her condition and really took a genuine interest. This can may a real difference when you are telling the same story for the umpteenth time. This was back in March and we were told due to the popularity of the place, our assessment wouldn’t take place until September, we said however, that we would be available for any last-minute cancellations.
As luck would have it, someone did cancel and we were pushed up to the 21st May. We were both so very excited. To add to the excitement the week before we were due to visit one our the SWANS that had visited just a few weeks previous had learnt to sit unaided! Tuesday 21st May for us now just couldn’t come quick enough.
It just so happened that the visit to Brainwave coincided with night out for me (a real rarity) It was double drink celebrations that night out; as I had been out wedding shopping with my Best Friend and seen her in her beautiful wedding dress, as well as choosing Isabella’s Flower girl dress and was also very excited for our impending trip to Brainwave.
So en route to the Brainwave Centre in Bridgwater, Monkey and Daddy picked a slightly tired and fuzzy Mummy up. With a brief stop first at MacDonald’s first to allow Mummy to refuel, we arrived at our accommodation. For just £50 a night you can stay on site at Brainwave, in a fully equipped bungalow. It was perfect, they provided a cot, a highchair and a bath seat. It was two bedroomed, so it meant we could relax in the evening and put Isabella to bed without disturbing her when we went later that night. I say later it wasn’t much later, as I was desperate to sleep as I hadn’t gone to bed until 3:30 am that morning!
After a good night’s sleep, in fact a full night for me as Isabella slept through, we all woke feeling fresh as daisies. We decided to take the opportunity to make the most of our family family day together, as it isn’t often that Daddy is off in the week (well except for hospital appointments) and the assessment wasn’t due to start until the following day. We headed off in the direction of the beach, stopping briefly at St Audries Park, my best friend’s stunning wedding location.
Everything thing was perfect. Our little family was together and we were all very happy. It felt like we were on holiday, it really was lovely. We also stopped at Williton, just 5 minutes away from St Audries, where we saw a real steam train. Isabella was very excited by the noise it made. We did some research and found that they do special Father Christmas train rides in the winter. So depending on the soreness of heads after the wedding Mummy and Daddy may or may not be joining Isabella and Nuna & Pops on board the train, as it is very, very loud!
We continued our drive to the seaside resort of Minehead where we enjoyed a pub lunch, collected shells on the beach and made very bad attempts at flying a kite. Unlike the song in Mary Poppins, we most certainly didn’t send it up to the highest height nor did we send it soaring, nevertheless we had lots of fun trying.
After a day of fun we got back to our Bungalow and gave Isabella her dinner. Afterwards we met up with another SWAN family, who I had never met but had chatted to on the group. It was a real added bonus getting to meet up with another family. Meeting other families is always nice, as we can share stories knowing that they completely understand where you are coming from. It was lovely seeing the girls together and finally meeting in person. It was refreshing to see that we also had more in common than just our children. Sadly we couldn’t stay long too long as the sea air had really wiped Isabella out. So we all got an early night in preparation for our big day tomorrow…