New sensory equipment has given a disabled Tayside girl a new lease of life.
Three-year-old Elena Johnston, who attends Grange Primary nursery in Monifieth, has Down’s Syndrome and autism, leaving her non-verbal.
She has sensory processing difficulties and together with delays in her communication skills, finds it difficult to socialise with other children.
Her mother Leona said: “My daughter has some sensory issues and struggles to communicate.
“At home she finds it difficult to play with standard games and toys.
“She hasn’t got the strength in her fingers to hold onto certain things and she can’t flick switches, which can sometimes frustrate her.”
Elena goes to a play group for children with disabilities in Dundee, where she has used interactive equipment in its sensory room.
Elena’s occupational therapist told Leona such equipment would also be good to use at home and she decided to turn her daughter’s bedroom into a sensory room.
Leona, 33, and her 39-year-old husband, Paul, studied what specialist equipment would best suit their daughter’s needs and opted for a tactile equipment pack, as it was colourful and highly visual.
It also contained a musical panel, a high power light board and an ultraviolet ripple mat that glows intensely under UV light.
The pack they wanted to buy cost £963, which was way beyond the family’s budget so a friend suggested contacting Caudwell Children to see if the charity could fund the items.
The charity agreed to the request and the couple said it has already had a positive impact on their daughter’s quality of life.
Mr Johnston said: “She’s interacting a lot and she’s not in her own world anymore.
“She’s become more vocal in trying to sing and making noises along with the songs.”
Mark Bushell, from Caudwell Children, said it is fantastic when parents tell them that a donation has had such a positive impact on a child.
He said: “Without Caudwell Children’s funding many parents would be unable to buy this equipment as it doesn’t come cheap.
“Tactile packs can’t be secured through statutory funding so it’s really important that the charity continues to fill this gap in provision.”