Cerebral palsy sufferer Alice Bates (8) made an astounding breakthrough after battling through two tough years where her health went downhill ... she used her right hand for the first time in her life.
Alice has one of the most severe forms of cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs, and two years ago lost her ability to swallow and had to be fed through a tube in her tummy.
Alice could potentially hold a bottle and open it, hold her paper down when writing, undo a zip. The list is limitless.Mum Charlotte Bates
Early this year X-rays confirmed Alice was developing two medical conditions that led to curvature of her spine at the top of her back.
Things turned around for Alice at Easter when her mum and dad, Charlotte (37) and Andy (45), took the courageous step to educate her at home because it meant she could do more physical workouts.
Alice had some mobility in her left hand, but damaged neurological pathways meant her brain simply didn’t know her right hand was there.
Charlotte told us: “Two months ago Alice gripped with her right hand.
“Her brain had never recognised her right arm as part of her body but, with the right stimulus, those pathways were opening up.
“Alice’s right hand will always be her ‘assisting hand’, but can you just imagine for a moment what that actually means?
“The difference between having one usable arm and one and an assisting arm is huge. Alice can hold her trike handles with both hands, holding her up securely and equally allowing her steer.
“Alice could potentially hold a bottle and open it, hold her paper down when writing, undo a zip. The list is limitless.
“Last week Alice’s consultant agreed to use Botox injections in Alice’s right arm to reduce the tightness there and hopefully improve functional use.
“Alice has even surprised her professional team this time and everyone involved with her would love to see her to continue to make progress in this area.”
In 2011 Alice won the hearts of Lincolnshire Free Press readers who raised £8,000 to buy her a powered wheelchair – giving her the freedom for the first time in four years to move about under her own steam.
At that time, Alice had enough mobility in her left hand to set the speed for the chair and steer it.
But now she’s catching up with the two-handed world after already making progress with her eating, which meant her PEG tube could be replaced by a mini button.
Home education has also allowed her Alice learn from the outside world, take swimming and singing lessons and enjoy gardening.
Alice lives in Gedney Road, Long Sutton, and has three sisters and two brothers.