A mum has revealed how a child development centre has helped her son become the person he is today.
Alfie Hamer was born with Down’s Syndrome and two holes in his heart and mum Michelle says without Holly House in Accrington he would not have hit some of his amazing milestones.
Alfie, now 14 months old, was diagnosed with Down’s and heart problems at 12 days old and had an operation to patch his heart in December.
The family, from Huncoat, first went to the Blackburn Road centre when Alfie was three months old for baby groups, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy.
A year later Michelle said the support and care they receive is “incredible”.
She said: “Before Alfie was born we’d already talked about what would happen if we had a child with Down’s, as some of our friends and relatives have children with it.
“It was hard at first but you accept it because he’s your baby.
“Going to Holly House has been brilliant, Alfie enjoys it and they really support us.”
Like many children with Down’s, Alfie has poor muscle tone and struggled to hold the weight of his own head for the first few months of his life.
He first sat up at a year old and Michelle says he would not have progressed so quickly without the staff at Holly House. He is learning Makaton sign language, as he doesn’t speak, and is practising making vowel sounds.
Alfie lives with his mum Michelle, 40, dad Carl, sister Katie, 17, and brother Callum, 13. Michelle says he is just like any other little boy and loves helium balloons and Mickey Mouse.
His sister Katie, who is studying health and social care at Blackburn College, regularly goes to Alfie’s sessions at Holly House with him as she hopes to work with children with special needs when she is older.
Michelle says the staff and other parents at Holly House create a valuable support network when things become difficult.
Alfie started having infantile spasms five months ago and she added the support had been invaluable. She said: “There’s parents there with children with all kinds of difficulties and it really helps, they know what you’re going through.”
Alfie will continue at Holly House until he is three and will then go to a mainstream nursery.
Michelle urged people to join our appeal.
She said: “I hope people support them. They provide so much support and they really care about everyone, they’re amazing.”
*A sponsored bike ride from Accrington to Blackpool will be held on October 28.
*Our Accrington Observer and Accrington Rotary Club swimathon to raise funds for the appeal and other charities is on November 25 at Accrington Academy.
*Kelly has organised a Christmas market for December 15 at Accrington Town Hall.
The Accrington Observer is trying to raise £20,000 for Holly House in Accrington.
We desperately need your help to reach our fundraising target and support Holly House in their amazing work. Your donations can provide specialist computer equipment to help youngsters learn and develop at the Blackburn Road centre.
We’re asking you to organise your own events for our appeal or to donate cash from events already organised.
The centre helped three-year-old Finley Rosbotham learn to walk and talk after he was born with part of his brain missing and has supported hundreds of youngsters through their difficulties and into mainstream schooling.
If you can help us to reach our goal or have an event you want to tell us about call the newsdesk on 0161 211 2977, email accrington firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us by post at Accrington Observer, MEN Media, Mitchell Henry House, Chadderton, Oldham, OL9 8EF. You can also pop into our office at Unit 3 of Accrington Market Hall.
Cheques should be made payable to ‘ELHT Charitable Funds Account’ with the Finley’s Friends Appeal written on the back.
Finley’s family have started a Facebook group entitled Finley’s Friends at Holly House Fundraising page and a Twitter feed @finrosbotham so you can follow the progress of the fundraising. You can also donate online at http://charity giving.co.uk/finleyrosbotham.