Devizes nursery transforms Lola Rose’s life
2:30pm Saturday 28th September 2013 in Latest News
Toddler Lola Rose Colyer, who is a favourite among the Wiltshire houseboat community, was unable to walk or talk when she started at the Devizes Opportunity Centre.
But now two years later Lola Rose is just a year away from starting mainstream school thanks to the help she has received from the experts there.
She was born with Down's syndrome and had to undergo major heart surgery when just five months old.
Lola Rose, three, is now able to walk and communicates through a mixture of words and a specialist sign language.
Her mum Sarah Walters, 46, who lives with her partner Andrew Colyer and Lola Rose on a houseboat on the Kennet and Avon Canal, said: “If it hadn’t been for Devizes Opportunity Centre I don’t know what we would have done.
"It has made a huge difference to Lola Rose’s life and to us as a family.
“If it hadn’t been for them I don’t think we would have been planning for her to go to mainstream school next September.
“They have helped all of us in so many ways and both staff and other parents have been very accepting and supportive of our slightly alternative style of living.
“We change our mooring every couple of weeks but we always make sure that we are able to get Lola Rose to her two mornings at the Opportunity Centre.”
She said it was helpful that speech therapists, physiotherapists and other experts were all available under one roof and parents were made to feel a vital part of a child’s treatment.
The family has learnt the specialist Makaton sign language that Lola Rose is taught so they can communicate with her better.
Her mum said: “Without this I think she would have become very frustrated not being able to tell us what she wanted. She is mostly a very happy child and everyone seems to love her.”
Lola Rose’s parents did their bit to raise money for the opportunity centre by organising a collection of old mobile phones.
Specialist boat fitter Mr Colyer said: “If anyone is able to help the centre financially they can be sure it is going to a good cause.”
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