Mollie's story

4 year old Mollie and her family are currently self-isolating at home, however they have made sure she is still able to continue her daily speech therapy sessions.

Mollie was just three years old when she became ill in August 2019. However, what started as a nasty virus, very quickly turned out to be every parent's worst nightmare.

Mollie was admitted to hospital on 13 August and within an hour started to have seizures. “After an EEG test we were told that Mollie’s brainwaves had slowed down and that they were working on a possible diagnosis of encephalitis,” explained mum Ceri. “They did a lumbar puncture and an MRI scan before confirming the worst possible news. Mollie had sustained devastating swelling to her brain.”

She was diagnosed with Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune condition that meant the antibodies in Mollie’s blood were attacking her brain and causing the swelling. She was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where the consultants explained that the damage to Mollie’s brain was considerable.

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“They were extremely worried about her condition,” said Ceri, “they suggested we prepared ourselves for the fact that Mollie might not make it.”

Fortunately Mollie’s condition began to improve and after 10 days of being on a combination of antibiotics, anti virals and steroids Mollie woke up. “She started to smile and giggle, and we knew we had our little girl back.”

That’s when the hard work began as Mollie had to relearn how to hold her head up, sit, roll, crawl, walk, drink and eat again. 12 weeks after being admitted to hospital, Mollie arrived at The Children’s Trust to start a three month intensive rehabilitation programme.

Mollie had only just started to walk again and was very unsteady on her feet. She suffered with fatigue a lot and relied on her buggy most of the time to get around, finding it very difficult to coordinate her movements. “She was reliant on me to anticipate all of her needs from food, to dressing, to communicating,” explained Ceri.

Through a combination of Physiotherapy, Speech and Language therapy, Occupational therapy, Music therapy and Hydrotherapy, as well as regular psychology and education sessions, Mollie began to make progress.

A real turning point for Mollie was about six weeks in when she stopped using her buggy to get around and was able to pedal a pushbike with stabilisers completely on her own. “Mollie really enjoyed hydrotherapy and was very motivated. It helped to strengthen her arm, legs and core,” explained Krishna, a physiotherapist at The Children’s Trust. “Over the course of her rehabilitation Mollie’s tolerance improved, allowing us to increase the intensity of therapy. As a result her mobility and overall physical skills also improved.”

Mollie in a Hydrotherapy session

To mark the end of her rehabilitation, Mollie rang the ‘going home bell’ in February this year. “Today, Mollie is a totally different child to the one that arrived here,” said Ceri. “She can now walk confidently, even run – which is actually her preferred mode of getting around these days. Mollie has made such amazing progress and it is all thanks to everyone at The Children’s Trust.

Mollie is continuing to make progress at home, and had started to go to preschool three mornings a week, as well as ballet, gymnastics and swimming classes. However, due to current government guidelines the family are now isolating at home.

“Speech continues to be her biggest challenge due to the verbal dyspraxia she acquired after her brain injury. She does get frustrated, but continues to work hard to communicate with us. We have been very fortunate whilst having to stay at home to receive a daily telephone call from our speech therapist who has been helping Mollie with the sequencing of her sounds. It has made a huge difference.”

“We’re doing lots of painting and Mollie loves to get out in the garden and explore. We also make sure to go out for our daily walk and Mollie holds our dog Baxter’s lead.”

“Mollie’s strength and determination continues to inspire us every day to be better people. We can’t wait to see what her future holds.”

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