Be Seen Not Hurt – Day 5

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Ben’s Story – Ben’s Mum Sonia shares the story of Ben’s brain injury

When Ben was 16 months old he contracted meningitis and septicaemia. The week previous to this he had a bad tummy bug and was very unwell and just didn”t pick up to his usual happy self. On the Sunday he had a slight temperature and was very cuddly but had no other symptoms at this point. By 5am on the Monday morning he was fitting.

Ben was admitted into the John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital in Oxford where he spent two days before he needed a transfer to Great Ormond Street Children”s Hospital for specialist care because he had kidney failure.

Ben was a real fighter. Every few days on life support Ben would try to come off it himself for a short time and eventually he managed it for longer periods at a time. Then his kidneys regained function, but he was left with a bad left sided weakness. He couldn”t talk, walk, eat solid food for a while but he was here and with us.

After a few months we realised there were other problems. By the age of 3 he was walking again, talking and nothing was standing in his way, but he”s nearly 7 now and the problems are prevalent in every minute of his life. He has no off switch and cries at night because he can”t switch his brain off. He gets a “fuzzy head” a lot of days that he just can”t explain.

Ben is a very caring and wonderful person who looks after his friends at school. He”s very good at school, but finds it hard to concentrate at times and battles fatigue most days. He finds concentrating at school a problem and he hums continually but doesn”t realise it”s happening, so when he comes home he lets all of his frustrations out.

He also seems to have lost his barriers to basic safety awareness and is a lot more impulsive. His lack of danger awareness, in and out of the home, is a real worry, especially around roads and traffic.

After everything he has been through he is doing amazingly well though and is in a mainstream school with supportive teachers and friends and he loves getting up in the morning (most of the time), it”s just a continual worry about his day to day safety.

We are now working with the Child Brain Injury Trust and Dogs for the Disabled on a pilot project using a ‘community dog’ to try and help Ben cope better with some day to day situations. Over the next few months Ben will be spending a few hours a week with the dog and its handler, and they will together be working on developing Ben’s awareness of danger.

In particular the project will aim to use the dog to encourage Ben to be aware of traffic, to avoid stepping off the pavement whilst walking and to learn to stop at the roadside and be able to cross safely. We are all looking forward to getting started and are keen to see what results are possible. We’re very proud that Ben has recently learnt to ride his bike, and so any improvement of awareness of dangers around roads will be a great result.

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October 25th, 2013|Tags: , |