My husband and I found out about CPotential during the first lockdown. Things were very hard at home and Poppy was struggling with – what we recognise now as – fear and confusion. Like most people, lockdown made us feel isolated, but I think it also made us realise just how different our lives are from most, if not all, of the people we know. So, we went online and Googled – and that’s how we found it. I filled in a form and was amazed at how fast the response was.
Before we knew it, we had an interview and assessment and more support than we have received from anywhere previously.”
Poppy has global developmental delay and – separately – poor vision, especially in her left eye. As you will probably know, GDD is an extremely broad diagnosis. My pregnancy and Poppy’s birth went smoothly – the normal morning sickness and fatigue, but nothing unusual. After a ‘colicky few months’, she was a happy baby: very sweet, very smiley.
CPotential has, in only a few months, provided a place and space where Poppy is celebrated and supported in a way that works for her. With CE (Conductive Education) sessions, Music Therapy sessions, play and storytime, she has been helped and enriched in so many ways. We have seen her grow in physical strength – she is fitter, stronger and braver; she climbs, she jumps, and she skips in a way she did not before.
When Poppy was around 10 months old, we realised (like her older brother) that one eye was weaker than the other (apparent in a squint) and so after seeing the GP were referred to Barnet General. Poppy wore glasses from 11 months old and has been patching for some time every day since that time (this strengthens her weaker eye). Then, when she was around two her childminder noticed she wasn’t meeting the same millstones as some of the other children she cared for, and looking back this now seems obvious, but I felt so much more relaxed the second time around that I hadn’t worried. I mentioned to her eye consultant that she was falling and bumping into things a lot, and so we were referred to a paediatrician.
I remember that first appointment vividly: Poppy had a lot of tests and exercises assessing her level of development and she was significantly below what was expected on all. Watching your child fail assessment after assessment is heart-breaking. It is hard to articulate because on some levels it was the system that angered me – Poppy was Poppy and to me she was perfect, so to be told that she wasn’t measuring up – well, it was very hard.
Following this Poppy saw specialist after specialist, trying to find a cause for her delayed development. Eventually, she had an MRI on her brain at GOSH. This was hard – she was terrified and hysterical when she awoke but couldn’t be discharged until she calmed down but didn’t understand this. We received the results a month or so later and these told us that she has two brain abnormalities. How or why this is unclear (her genome has been mapped and this did not detect anything) but the consultant at GOSH suspects I had a virus in my early pregnancy. For years I felt fine about this but recently think more about what I might have done wrong – worked too hard, not rested enough – to make this happen. But it’s strange, I wouldn’t change Poppy for the world, I just wish the world would change to make her life easier.
I would like to thank everyone at CPotential for everything they are doing for Poppy and for children like Poppy. We are so lucky to have you in our lives and the support you offer came at a time when we could not have needed it more.
Our son was little when this all happened and I don’t think he remembers a time when Poppy wasn’t different from other children, but for my husband and for me, I suppose we are still adjusting to our reality: that we will always have a child who is dependent, a child for whom the world is a scary and dangerous place. I think other parents struggle to understand what this is like: for every parent, having a child is like wearing your heart upon your sleeve, but when your child is different and vulnerable, the world can seem a terrifying place.
Poppy has met children who, like her, are a bit different from most of the children she sees at school; she has seen that lots of children face challenges, but everyone is special in their own way. CPotential also helps Poppy to feel special and important, to feel that her voice, ideas and opinions matter. She has grown in confidence and creativity. We have also learnt so much from the sessions and tried to copy ideas at home.
CPotential has given Poppy a place where she is important and for us, as a family, that is just wonderful.”
Poppy was once described by her helper at school as being pure of heart, and this is true. She is a very special child who loves kindness, laughter and fun. She loves to draw and dance and sing. Right now, her favourite colour is yellow – after Winnie the Pooh. She loves the Muppets and learning about animals.
Poppy’s Mum, Emily