Monday 23 April 2018

'I have to take him to school in a wheelchair' - Mum of young boy who suffers from scoliosis and autism

Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly

Ryan O'Rourke

The mother of a young boy who suffers from scoliosis and autism has described the pain and frustration her son suffers on a daily basis.

Vickie Kelly (36) from Athy in Co. Kildare spoke about how her son Gary (5) struggles to express the pain he feels in his spine.

"He isn’t very verbal," she told

"The only way he can describe the pain is to head-butt the floor".

Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly

Vickie appeared on RTE's The Late Late Show on Friday night to discuss her son's situation with presenter Ryan Tubridy.

Gary was born with scoliosis, he was also diagnosed with autism and a late development disorder.

Scoliosis is a medical condition in which a person's spine has a sideways curve.

This limits Gary’s movement, because of this, Vickie says Garry cannot live the life of a normal five year old.

"He gets frustrated, he might go three days without eating.

"He will try and walk and fall, that would frustrate him even more," she said.

Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly
Gary Kelly

Gary started school in Scoil Mhichil Naofa on Wednesday.

Vickie is worried that this is going to bring about more problems for Garry.

"I have to take him to school in a wheelchair, when other lads his age can walk there.

"He has started to notice that he is not the same as everybody else," Vickie said.

The five-year-old is receiving treatment at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin.

Gary was placed into a body cast at the age of two to try and minimalise the curvature in his spine.

Since having that removed, Vickie says there has been a lot of talk of surgery.

"In September of 2015, they started talking about surgery.

"They decided to try and hold it off as long as possible, because the metal rods and that they would have to put in his spine, they will restrict his growth," she said.

But now it has become clear that surgery is the only option. Without it, Gary will be restricted to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

"It’s just so frustrating, I call them every two weeks and it keeps getting put back.

"If the surgery got done next week, they could just get working on his other problems, like Botox for his legs, to help him walk," Vickie said.

Vickie and her family’s lives have revolved around waiting for this surgery for the last two years.

"We haven’t gone on holidays or anything, we just think, what if we get the date for the surgery and we’re gone."

The mother of four has described the how the struggle to get her son the treatment he needs has left her feeling.

"It feels like we’re stuck in a big hole trying to dig ourselves out of it.

"I’m just trying to get my son the life he deserves."

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