Celebral palsy charity transforms Noah’s life

Having had two children already teacher Liz Spray knew there something not quite right about her youngest son Noah’s development.

As he started to grow his parents realised he wasn’t reaching the same physical milestones that his older siblings had so she began to investigate.

Eventually Liz realised her Noah had celebral palsy, symptoms of which can includepoor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles and tremors.

“I Googled it and up popped a local charity called Stick ‘n’ Step which has been helping children with cerebral palsy for nearly 20 years,” she said. “I remembered one of my pupils at school had used it so I made contact.”

Liz made the 40-minute journey from her home in Flintshire, North Wales to the charity’s Runcorn base and joined a parent and child class when Noah was three.

“It was one of the best things I ever did,” she said. “Stick ‘n’ Step use conductive education techniques pioneered in Hungary to help improve young people’s mobility and cognitive learning skills and we noticed Noah get stronger and be able to sit up. It made a big difference.”

The charity doesn’t receive any government funding so has to raise £660,000 a year. When Covid-19 hit they were faced with a cashflow crisis until the Steve Morgan Foundation awarded them £21,000 in emergency funding.

The grant helped the charity’s conductors offer a virtual service to their young users and Liz said that was really important to Noah’s ongoing development.

“Stick ‘n’ Step is a community,” she said. “When you’re parenting a child with special needs it’s a whole new ball game and other parents at the charity know what it means.

“In Noah’s case I’ve been able to see him transfer the skills he’s been taught at Stick ‘n’ Step into his life and into his school. Who knows what he’ll be capable of in the future. It’s made such a difference.”

When Covid-19 stopped face-to-face contact Liz was understandably concerned.

“We’ve had a lot of support,” said Liz. “Our conductor is called Beccy and she’s been in constant touch and Noah has a full list of activities.

“It’s important to keep that link going. He’s able to see lots of his friends on Facebook and we’re very grateful to the Steve Morgan Foundation for stepping into help.”

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