Matthew is completely immobile and relies on the people who care for him to meet all his daily needs.
He cannot communicate verbally, but he is also one of the happiest and most determined little boys we know and he loves life.
"Matthew was born at 36 weeks by emergency c section after I noticed reduced foetal movement. The cord was tightly wrapped around his neck twice. He was resuscitated and spent a few days in the Neonatal ward but he recovered very quickly. We were not warned about the effect such a traumatic birth, and lack of oxygen might have on Matthews brain and we were sent home as young, first time parents without a clue of what was ahead.
Matthew was at first hospitalised with severe reflux and had terrible problems feeding. He was extremely unsettled all the time and was a very miserable baby. It became clear very quickly that Matthew wasn't developing as we should expect, and at 6 months he was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. After the diagnosis, we grieved for the son we'd imagined we'd have. Our hopes and dreams for him had been shattered. We were alone and scared as we struggled to accept this overwhelming and life changing news. I felt completely isolated as a mum, I had nothing in common with any of the other mums at baby groups and I just didn't feel like we fitted in anywhere.
We found Charlie House when doing research online. When we felt strong enough we contacted them to see if they could offer advice on anything. We got a very reassuring and comforting email back very quickly and we were invited along to their Saturday Club where we could meet other families and kids like our own. It was a huge step forward for us, out of the dark, to meet other people that we could share our story with, exchange advice and experiences and basically just support each other.
It was a massive relief.
We have enjoyed trying various activities that we would never have dreamed possible for Matthew, and have had two amazing short breaks together as a family without any stress or worry planning and coordinating the things Matthew would need away from home. Charlie House changed our mindset. It's a community for us and a hub of information and support. It's all we have locally and we would be lost without it."