Camden mother of disabled boy fights cerebral palsy stigma in awareness week
- Credit: Archant
Theo Seddon-Deane was born at just 26 weeks, weighing less than a bag of potatoes, and needed a ventilator just to keep him breathing.
It would be some weeks before his family would receive the devastating diagnosis that Theo had a severe form of cerebral palsy, leaving him unable to move any of his limbs. In the first three years of his life, the Camden Town youngster came close to death four times and spent most of his time in intensive care. But aged 14, he is thriving at school and, with aid, enjoys water skiing and theme parks.
His mother Catharine Seddon has now shared her experience of raising a child with severe cerebral palsy to fight the stigma surrounding the disability as part of the Muswell Hill-based London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy’s (LCCCP) awareness week, which runs until Sunday.
“Unfortunately, people make assumptions that you cannot be very engaged if you are trapped in a body that doesn’t work,” said the mother-of-four, of Albert Street. “But this is absolutely not the case.
“There’s a huge range of cognitive ability – some who have no impairment and some who have severe, and a great deal in between.
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“But even those who have severe impairment have just as much ability to go through the breadth of human emotion as the rest of us. The disabled have often been further disabled by society’s attitudes.”
After receiving the diagnosis, Ms Seddon said she was left in the dark about the different therapies and educational options on offer for her son. She contacted Scope, the national charity for cerebral palsy, who advised her to get in touch with the LCCCP – then called the Hornsey Trust. “It was quite the lifeline,” said Ms Seddon, a former TV producer and magistrate.
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“Therapists at the centre helped Theo learn to move his paralysed limbs through conductive education sessions, and soon he was growing in strength and confidence. After spending his primary education at the LCCCP, Theo attends Treloar’s school for physically disabled children in Hampshire.
Ms Seddon said: “There are children with cerebral palsy who can and should be in mainstream education. But Theo is not one of them. Children like him, with their plethora of specific difficulties, need the unique education the LCCCP offers. Without it, they simply will never reach their potential. With it, the sky is the limit.”
Visit cplondon.org.uk for more information