Why Ella loves Woodstar School
Ella was born in 2006 after a full term pregnancy and a trouble-free birth. She was the perfect baby – she hardly cried and was smiley and happy – there were no signs whatsoever that she was disabled.
Indeed, when she wasn’t walking and hardly talking at 1 year and then 18 months, we were told she was just a “late developer”.
She was two years old before we had a first diagnosis – cerebral palsy and learning difficulties.
Ella attended the local nursery school and things were fine with 1:1 help. She moved up to her local primary school where she enjoyed her Reception year – making friends and playing as Reception children normally do. Although it was clear she wasn’t developing as other children were.
She’d been attending primary school for a year when we found CPotential and discovered they did Saturday morning sessions for children with cerebral palsy. Finally, we’d found somewhere that, even if just for a couple of hours a week, could give Ella regular support focused on the things she really needed to develop.
As she moved into Year 1 at school and things became more rigid and academic it was obvious neither she, nor her school, could cope.
It was clear to us, however, that just as things were getting more difficult for her at her mainstream school that she was increasingly thriving at the Centre. We were able to arrange a split placement to the Centre two days a week there and three at her mainstream school.
Ella attended the Child and Parents group at CPotential every Saturday morning for about a year.
We look back fondly on those days knowing Ella was getting the physical and cognitive care she needed while we could spend some quality time with Ella’s little sister (and treating ourselves to a lovely breakfast in one of Muswell Hill’s fine restaurants!)
Also, at that time we found the Centre a very supportive and comforting environment. We met other parents in the same position and could ask them and the staff for advice when both we and her mainstream school were struggling to cope with Ella’s condition.
When mainstream school could no longer meet Ella’s needs, the Centre was at the top of our list and when she turned six we moved her there full time.
Since Ella joined the school we have seen huge improvements in her walking, speech, behaviour and all aspects of self-care. She loves school, and her favourite day is Wednesday when Ruth comes to run the music therapy classes.
Trips out to the local shops or woods are also days she really looks forward to.
Ella really benefits from the daily structure and routine of the school and the Conductive Education principles of encouraging physical, holistic, problem-solving abilities and the encouragement to develop a greater knowledge and appreciation of her abilities and how she can reach her full potential.
Ella has a list of problems – she can’t walk unaided, is partially sighted, has epilepsy, moderate learning difficulties, processing delay, sensory and behaviour problems. She is, however, a very strong-minded, sociable, fun-loving girl and never lets this list stand in her way.
She is always ready to tackle new challenges and recently started a gymnastics class.
Like most families, we’ve had our ups and downs over the last few years but it is with a huge thank you to everyone at CPotential that the lows have been easier to bear.
We have not felt alone in our battles and have been supported in our hopes and dreams for Ella to have a happy and fulfilling life.
We still struggle sometimes but the Centre makes things easier. They focus on the things important for Ella that will help her as she gets older to make her, and our, lives easier – all at a pace that suits her and all in a loving environment.