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Olivia's Story - Christmas Campaign 2017

    • Shine Education Project

Through Shine’s Christmas Campaign we aim to raise £5000 during December to fund part of our Shine Brighter education project, which aims to give more than 3,000 children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus greater access to opportunities in education over the next five years. Shine Support & Development Worker, Sharon, recalls:

“I recently carried out a home visit to the home of Olivia* - a four year old little girl with spina bifida and hydrocephalus - and her family. Mum had contacted me about her daughter’s forthcoming review of nursery and her move into the local mainstream school.  She was understandably concerned that the school and teaching staff should be aware of her daughter's needs and the impact of her condition, despite her outward confidence and eagerness to join in everything.

I made contact with the school and offered a visit where I would speak to relevant professionals and provide resources as well as speaking to the children in the school. I was able to offer a fun reading session about Bella Bear, who has spina bifida, which the children really enjoyed. There were lots of 'oohs and aah's' at the end of the story and the children were joining in with the repeated rhyming strapline at the end of each page. They were totally immersed in the story and I felt that they could begin to understand better why some children use wheelchairs and they were learning new words, spina bifida. 

The Special Education Needs Coordinator of the school was thrilled with the session and was keen to listen to how the whole class and indeed school could get involved. The book was also able to talk about continence issues in a more 'fun' way; Bella's 'wiggly wee' tube, had far more impact and relevance than the word 'catheter'.

The outcome of my visit was that Olivia felt more included in school activities and the teachers felt more empowered to deal with any situations which arose. All the children really enjoyed the session and I had a positive overall response from the school about the experience.”           

*name changed to protect identity


Shine’s Christmas Campaign will help teachers unlock potential in children like Olivia. 

Shine is creating life changing resources and support for children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, their families and the professionals who work with them.

We help teachers to find creative ways to help boys and girls like Olivia to learn and gain confidence, by breaking tasks into easy steps, using colour to sort information, extra time for tasks, and support to catch up after hospital stays.

If you've been affected or inspired by Olivia's story, you can learn more about the aims of the project and make a donation to support this pioneering work by visiting our Just Giving page before midnight Sunday 31st December 2017

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