Family looking forward to new year with 'little sweetie-pie' daughter who cannot speak

The Bolton News: Hannah in her bedouin tent which dominates the family’s living room Hannah in her bedouin tent which dominates the family’s living room

FOR many parents the best part of the Christmas holidays is seeing the excitement on the faces of their children.

But the festive season is a bit different in the Dewhurst household, although just as special with four year-old Hannah taking centre stage.

Hannah makes everyone around her smile, but her rare physical and developmental condition — Cornelia de Lange Syndrome — means that she cannot speak and does not have the same emotional reactions as other children.

Parents Mark and Anne Dewhurst are looking forward to sharing the Christmas experience with their daughter, even though it will be difficult for them to know whether she is having fun too.

Now in her first year at Greenfold School, Farnworth, Hannah took the role of a sheep in the Nativity show. “Although she was busy pulling the headdress off a shepherd,” said Mrs Dewhurst.

And Hannah was taken on a school trip to the Market Place to meet Father Christmas and to see the giant ferris wheel in Bolton town centre.

A Christmas tree is absent from the Dewhurst’s Daisy Hill home in case Hannah pulls it over, but Mrs Dewhurst says Hannah enjoys the sparkling lights and baubles they put on a Christmas garland instead.

And when it comes to presents Hannah has been bought a range of toys to stimulate her senses, which will be housed in the Bedouin tent mum made for her to play in, and which dominates the family’s living room. There’s hardly any room left for us,” laughed Mrs Dewhurst.

The New Year is, hopefully, going to bring some changes for the Dewhurst family.

Within the next few weeks Hannah will get her first wheelchair to replace the buggy she has been using up until now.

“Even though she is toddling, it is incredibly difficult to walk outside with her even for a short distance,” said Mrs Dewhurst, who explained that Hannah’s syndrome makes her very sensitive to touch and so she does not like to hold hands.

The family is also hoping that a downstairs bathroom can be built at their home to save Mrs Dewhurst having to carry her daughter up the stairs.

“I’m only 5ft tall and it’s beginning to take its toll on my back. The new bathroom can’t come soon enough,” she said.

But Mrs Dewhurst is most excited about launching her new blog in the near future in order to support other parents of disabled children and help educate the public about Hannah’s condition.

“There will be some serious issues in it and it is about our journey with Hannah,” said Mrs Dewhurst.

“I want to share it with other people and show that it is not all doom and gloom. There are good times.

“There is a lot to look forward to in the New Year. Hannah is developing, albeit at her own pace, and that is all that matters to us.

“She’s going in the right direction. She is just our little sweetie pie.”

The family say they have been touched by the kindness of people who have helped them fund raise for the Legacy Rainbow House in Mawdsley, Ormskirk, where Hannah goes for therapy sessions.

Anyone who would like to help can donate via justgiving.com/ HannahsAppeal2013

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