Joshua's Story

Joshua, now 11 years old, was born with a congenital heart disease which has caused him to undergo open heart surgery four times in his short life. He now has a pacemaker. As a result of his heart condition and frequent hospitalization, Joshua suffered from global development delay. At the age of 9 he was also diagnosed as Dyspraxic, this being manifested in the following ways: low self-esteem, sequencing problems, poor short-term visual and verbal memory, fine-motor skill problems, poor handwriting, poor organizational skills and extreme mood swings. All of these difficulties have resulted in Joshua being under the care of a wide variety of professionals, cardiologist, educational psychologist, clinical psychologist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist.

With all of these challenges, coping with Joshua as he got older was becoming increasingly difficult. The greatest challenges were perhaps his mood swings, bouts of anger, spitefulness toward his three brothers and his low self-esteem resulting from falling behind in his school work. He was also the one at school who would fall over at the start line on sports day. As a result, Joshua dreaded school sports day, referring to it as “the worst day of the year”.

I heard about The Sunflower Trust from my Osteopath who thought its programme could be helpful to Joshua. I booked him in. Joshua was immediately engaged by the Sunflower practitioner, Mark, and responded well in the sessions. He enjoyed the one-to-one time and willingly practised the brain balancing games he was given to do at home. He even started to devise his own which he used to present with enormous pride to Mark at his next session.

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Joshua was also prescribed a number of vitamin/mineral supplements which when presented in liquid form, he also took daily without issue. Joshua enjoyed the opportunity to talk about his emotions within a trusted environment. He also greatly valued the techniques Mark gave him to help overcome some of his behavioural difficulties. He often told me that he used them sometimes at school and with friends when he needed to.

The first major breakthrough came on sports day. Not only did Joshua finish the 50-metre sprint but he came first in his year group. By the end of the day, his PE shirt was covered with 1st, 2nd and 3rd ribbons and the smile on his face was that of a winner. Since then, Joshua has gone on to win more medals at his school sports days – quite an accomplishment for a child with a pacemaker!

When Joshua moved to a new school – faced with the significant challenge of making new friends in a strange environment - Joshua again showed considerable fortitude and settled very quickly, making new friends and taking on roles of responsibility within school. Again, he told me that he used the techniques learned from The Sunflower Programme to help him in those first few weeks at his new school.

Joshua is now facing his next big challenge – starting secondary school but he is looking forward to it in a way which I could not have conceived possible a couple of years ago

There is no doubt that The Sunflower Programme has played a large part in the increase in his self-esteem. This has helped him to believe in himself and has given him the confidence to think that anything is possible – and thanks to Sunflower, it is!

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