Mum praises Sheffield school that helped son to walk after doctors said he might not live

A mum who was told by doctors that her son with cerebral palsy would never walk is now praising a specialist Sheffield school.

Ganelle Griffiths was pregnant with twins when she gave birth to six-year-old Kellen Buckler at 23 weeks after unexpectedly going into labour. His brother Jace Buckler sadly died a week later.

Ganelle, 37, said: “We got told a lot of times that Kellen wasn’t going to make it.

“He was constantly fighting a battle because of all the surgeries and I had to take each day at a time.

“There were conversations when I was told that he would never walk or sit. It was disheartening because a part of me felt like they’d given up on him.”

The mum from Stocksbridge said that Kellen was discharged after seven months after having undergone numerous operations on his stomach and bowel. 

As time went on, she said that she started to notice that Kellen wasn’t developing like other children.

“I was aware from talking to the doctors and nurses that Kellen was going to have cerebral palsy, they just didn’t know to what extent,” Ganelle said.

“He did get diagnosed with cerebral palsy and he had to use a feeding tube. He is also visually impaired.

“From then on there was a lot of intervention and they were all very good but I needed a team of people to challenge Kellen because he really wanted to do things like sit up and I felt like nobody was really challenging him.”

Ganelle Griffiths and her son Kellen Buckler

Ganelle said that the traumatic experience of giving birth prematurely pushed her as a parent to make sure that he can achieve and reach his full potential.

She added: “As much as it upset me that he would take longer than the average child, that’s where Paces comes in.”

Paces is a specialist centre for children with cerebral palsy and other motor disorders in Chapeltown. The school is partly funded by public funding

Russ Hall is a fundraiser for Paces who has had experience working with children as a headteacher of a primary school in Doncaster. 

He described the progress Kellen has made since attending Paces.

“Three years ago we had a young man called Kellen visit Paces with his mum. Our head Ruth Leu told his mum that if he came to Paces he would achieve his full potential,” Russ said.

“Within the first term he developed enough strength in his arms to push himself up and to sit using what we call a corner chair.

“Using that he went from laying flat all the time to being able to sit up. After he had been with us a year, he was able to use a frame to walk, his mum described it as a miracle.”

Russ described how Paces taught Kellen to communicate his wants and needs with signs and how overtime he developed enough strength in his larynx and lungs to control his breath so he could speak. He said that he can now speak simple sentences.

Without Paces Genelle said that she does not feel like he would have made as much progress.

“Kellen is quite motivated and driven to achieve his goals and targets and to really enjoy life as much as he can and to not let his disability stop him from doing that,” said Genelle.

“I would tell other parents of kids with cerebral palsy to not give up and to push for more.

“The doctors are blown away by him because he has not followed the textbook. It all comes from the parent pushing.”

Written by Benjamin Todd

Reporter for ShefNews

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