My name is Hannah. I’m eight years old and live on the Isle of Wight.
I have light brown hair and a big smile which everyone says is just like my mum’s – see? Me and my mum have lots of things in common, but people mostly notice that we both have problems with our walking. Mum has always used walking sticks to help her get around and I use a walking frame with wheels.
I’ve had problems with my legs since I was born, but my mum says she didn’t realise until I was a year old. She noticed that I couldn’t sit up properly and would always lean on something. So we went to a doctor who said I had something called spastic diplegia. That means the muscles in my legs and feet don’t work properly and they won’t do what I want them to. It makes it hard for me to stand up and walking makes me really tired.
I’ve been coming to the Bobath Centre every year since I was four, just after I started school because I wanted to do the things other kids in my class do. I really enjoyed my first visit and even wanted to come at weekends!
Marie is my therapist and she’s really nice. She has been helping me with going from sitting to standing without having to hold on to something. I often feel safer just sitting down or crawling, because my legs don’t straighten. At the end of my therapy I could stand against a wall with my legs almost straight for a whole minute, and I can climb onto a therapy plinth – I’ve never been able to do that before!
Having therapy here is always fun too. I’ve been bringing my favourite toys with me: this is Billy the goat, and this is Rose the dog; she was a birthday present.
I play lots of games in therapy; my favourite is where I have to reach up and grab something above me. Sometimes it’s just a toy or a ball, but sometimes it’s money. I earned one pound and ten pence today, so I really enjoyed that!
Marie thinks that my problems are down to me not being confident, but when I am at the Bobath Centre I have my mum, my grandma, Marie and sometimes my home therapist to help me and that makes it easier. I’m a lot more confident now.
When I go home I do my Bobath exercises and mum makes me work hard. She knows how hard it can be to have walking difficulties and she wants me to be as strong as possible.
I also have to do physiotherapy exercises every day at school and go to extra physio sessions every two weeks.
"I think I’m really lucky that I don’t have problems with my hands and arms too, because my favourite subject at school is Art – at the moment we’re drawing dragons, which I’m quite good at, but I’m rubbish at painting! I like writing too – when I grow up I’m going to write stories like Roald Dahl’s, about my life and my friends.”