Anaiyah, three, loves her new Romford garden - thanks to charities Well Child, Wipe Away the Tears and Ben
A Romford three-year-old with a rare genetic disorder is discovering the great outdoors after a group of charities built her a special garden.
Anaiyah O’Dean, of Paignton Close, has Angleman’s Syndrome – meaning she has global developmental delay, learning disabilities and no speech.
Anaiyah loves the fresh air – but difficulties with balance arising from her condition, and a tendency to put things in her mouth, meant her family’s steep, unkempt lawn wasn’t safe for her. Now, thanks to charities Well Child, Wipe Away the Tears and Ben, she has a new, landscaped area to play in.
“She really loves it,” said Anaiyah’s mum Nicola, 43.
“She’s quite hyperactive and she needs to be able to burn off quite a lot of energy. When she’s indoors she gets a bit of cabin fever.”
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But unless Anaiyah was with Nicola or dad Paul, it was too dangerous to play outside alone, which meant she didn’t get to see as much of the outdoors as she wanted.
“Anaiyah’s disorder affects her balance so she’s not able to use stairs without help,” said Nicola. “If there’s an uneven surface she trips and falls, and because our garden had a very steep slope I couldn’t let her out on her own for fear of her hurting herself.
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“Now she can walk out from the kitchen out into a safe gated area where I know she’s safe.”
Before contacting Well Child, Nicola and Paul looked into making adaptations to the garden themselves – but every quote was out of their price range.
“Without the charities there’s no way we would have been able to do it,” Nicola told the Recorder.
“Wipe Away the Tears supplied the toys for the garden to help with her development and motor skills. Ben supplied pretty much most of the funding and Well Child coordinated the work.”
The transformation from hazard to haven took place over just two days last week – with the help of a small army of volunteers from Royal Sun Alliance.
“The whole garden is absolutely amazing,” said delighted Nicola.
“She doesn’t want to stay indoors now, even in the rain. She likes being outside and now she can explore and enjoy the fresh air.
“It gives her a bit of independence and I know she’s safe.”