Benjamin was born 11 days late over the Christmas break 2012/2013. After multiple tried and failed attempts to start labour prior to the Christmas break, I spontaneously went into labour on the day I was due to be induced. We had a very difficult labour and eventually a forceps/assisted delivery in theatre. Benjamin was stuck in the birth canal with an incredible amount of pressure on his head for more than three hours without intervention.

Benjamin was taken from us a few minutes after delivery and spent 24 hours in the special care baby unit at hospital. Thankfully he was a big, strong baby and he appeared to make wonderful progress in just 24 hours. I however was still very poorly so we remained in hospital in a side room on the high dependency ward for a week before being discharged.

Benjamin developed reasonably normally for the first year of his life. He hit all of his developmental milestones sitting, rolling, crawling, walking and even talking. Between one year and 18 months Benjamin had multiple ear infections and his speech regressed, we assumed the infections had caused hearing loss. After several appointments with audiology we were told Benjamin's hearing was in fact very good.

Swings & Smiles has been fantastic for our entire family. Spending time with other parents, carers and staff who embrace the things that make Benjamin different. 

Benjamin is our only child and with minimal experience of how babies and toddlers develop we just assumed that Benjamin was a bit quirky in his play and a sensitive soul. We assumed that the things he was now delayed with would catch up in the end. When Benjamin started at a private day nursery just after his second birthday it was clear there was more to it. Benjamin was diagnosed at three years old with ASD, SPD, anxiety and a complex learning disability. The learning disability is linked to his ASD but the severity is likely down to the negligence suffered during labour. We were relieved to have the diagnosis, but the support we expected didn't follow until we came to Swings & Smiles.

Swings & Smiles has been fantastic for our entire family. Spending time with other parents, carers and staff who embrace the things that make Benjamin different. We have made some wonderful friendships and have watched Benjamin grow in confidence. The staff are getting to know us more each week and are seeing Benjamin’s lovely, funny and affectionate personality.

Swings & Smiles is like a home from home for the three of us and we would be lost without such a wonderful facility.

Kim Foster,
Benjamin's mum

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