Oliver lives in Eastbourne with his Mum Caroline, Dad John and siblings Joshua, Connor and Shannon. At about 18 months old he was diagnosed with a condition that means his muscles will deteriorate over time and leave him reliant on his parents for all of his personal care. He has already lost the ability to walk, and even to move his legs very much, he may lose the ability to swallow, and will probably need oxygen at night in the future.
The family were referred to Chestnut Tree House in 2017, when Oliver was 7 years old. After an initial visit from a nurse they were introduced to Susan, Oliver’s Care Support Worker “We were really worried about Susan looking after Oliver to start with,” says Caroline. “He has always been quite clingy so we didn’t know if he would even let us leave him with her. But he was fine, and now absolutely loves his visits with her.
“They always go out and have fun – at the bowling alley, or driving range, or just a trip to feed the ducks at the local park. And it’s made a real difference to his confidence – when he was a baby I couldn’t leave without him getting hysterical, now he’s almost too independent, which is really great.
“Oliver has always missed out on things. Little things, like bouncy castles and swings at the park, and big things like trips to theme parks, and it can make him really frustrated. Now he has the chance to do some of these things – and it really has made a difference.”