Appeal hopes to help eight-year-old Angmering girl to talk

Gracie Faulkner has complex disabilities, including hypotonic cerebral palsy and severe speech delay
Gracie Faulkner has complex disabilities, including hypotonic cerebral palsy and severe speech delay

LITTLE Gracie Faulkner has so much to say but complex difficulties mean she cannot yet talk.

Parents Mark and Alison Faulkner from Angmering hope that specialist therapy will give their eight-year-old daughter the support she needs to unlock her speech.

They have just launched a £16,000 fundraising campaign through Tree of Hope, to help them complete a new rehabilitation programme with The Family Hope Center.

Alison explained: “Gracie cannot talk yet, even though she understands, and can do simple sign language and use communication apps.

“This new rehabilitation programme encourages the brain to lay down new pathways promoting overall development, including speech.

“There are about 40 UK children on the programme but we are the first in West Sussex to give it a go.

“Parents are reporting terrific results by following their guidelines of diet, co-ordination, sensory and literacy programmes.”

Gracie, a pupil at Palatine Primary School in Worthing, has hypotonic cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and severe speech delay.

The main fundraising will kick off in the new year, but around £800 has already been donated to the Give Gracie a Voice appeal by friends and family in the village.

The Family Hope Center, in Norristown, Pennsylvania, is an international unit dedicated to the development of children with special needs and developmental delay.

Alison said: “Gracie has a neurological age of two. Therapy has helped Gracie to walk, with a walking frame, and communicate with simple sign language and using her iPad but she would love to talk – she has so much to say!

“The Family Hope Center programme differs from her current therapies by focusing on the cause of her problems, rather than the symptoms. This intensive rehabilitation programme will improve the organisation of Gracie’s brain and enable her to develop faster, improving her speech and mobility.

“The programme is not available on the NHS and costs approximately £7,500 a year for appointments and advice from their highly-qualified team, who travel to Chester twice a year.

“We are fundraising to assist with appointment costs plus any equipment and travel expenses required over the next two years.”

Alison and Mark have already met with other parents on the programme and have completed the three-day parent training conference, interactive sessions designed to educate and encourage parents of children with a variety of special needs.

“This therapy really does what its name suggests,” they said. “It offers a more enjoyable life for our little girl and a more hopeful future for our family as her development speeds up and she becomes more able.”

Matthew and Carol Newell, founders and directors of the Family Hope Center, have dedicated most of their lives to helping special needs children and adults. Their approach is to focus on the core issues – the location in the brain, the degree and the extent of the dysfunction. The programme guides parents to get them started towards promoting brain growth and development.

Visit { Gracie a Voice} to make a donation.

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