In February of 2011 our beautiful boy Harry, just a few weeks shy of his first birthday, suffered a severe traumatic brain injury as the result of a fall whilst with a carer. His injury was catastrophic and we now know that initially he was not expected to survive. However, thanks to a phenomenal neurosurgeon along with quick-thinking and skilled medical staff at every point, we now still have our bright and unquestionably brave boy in our lives.
Harry has had to learn how to do everything again, he was an 11 month old newborn, unable to even hold his head up. Along this extraordinary journey his determination has shone through and we have celebrated every little moment, every tiny victory from the first taste of puree to the first time he smiled again.
I’ll never forget when I heard Harry’s ICU nurse say the words ‘give the boy a chance’. We were trying to get him to tolerate more food through his naso-gastric tube. The first attempt had failed with him reacting badly and everyone was worried about what to do next. Give the boy a chance. Just give the boy a chance. And soon enough he was tolerating more and more and getting stronger and stronger.
Whenever we’re in doubt…give the boy a chance.
A big focus for us is Harry’s communication. Harry has a few verbal words and some signs, but to make sure that he is able to tell us what he is thinking/feeling beyond just those few spoken words he uses a PODD communication book and the Compass communication app on an iPad with the PODD pageset. The combination of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) through his PODD book and app along with his signs, sounds, words and gestures ensures that Harry has access to a robust communication system.
You’ll see just how he uses all those things together to communicate in the ‘Harry says…’ posts.
Key for symbols used in the ‘Harry says…’ posts:
📱iPad – H is using his ‘talker’ to say the word
📒PODD – H is using his PODD communication book
☝️Sign – H is using a sign or gesture
📢Voice – H is speaking the word or using sounds to emphasise a point
Who are we all:
H – Harry, our bright, funny complex 4 year old son. He loves trucks and vans, balls, buses and anything that roars!
T – Tallulah is Harry’s baby sister who already worships him.
J – Jamie is H and T’s dad and my wonderful husband.
M – that’s me, Michaela.
Nice to meet you.