Thursday 22 February 2018

Christmas cards to bring Adam gift of speech

Anita Guidera

THE parents of a little boy born with a rare medical condition hope the unique Christmas cards designed by their son will help him to speak.

Six-year-old Adam Kennedy suffers from achondroplasia, better known as dwarfism, which has left him with severe hearing difficulties from birth.

This has led to a learning delay for Adam, who has been in and out of hospital for most of his life, and who at present has the functioning of a three-year-old.

But parents, Noel and Valerie Kennedy, from Skreen, Co Sligo, believe that with the correct intervention therapy their son will be able to communicate verbally.


Following an almost fatal seizure suffered by Adam last May, he spoke his first full sentence. "He would have been non-verbal. He had the use of only six to eight words. Then when he came out of the coma he asked us for juice. He asked us so well, it nearly blew us out of the water," said his mother Valerie.

His parents firmly believe that Adam has the capability to talk. And now, the schoolboy's talent for painting pictures with his fingers on the patio window is about to be turned into Christmas cards, which will help raise funds for much-needed therapy, not available through the HSE.

"People see different things in them. Some are abstract and some are fairly obvious with angels. He has a fascination with bumble bees," said his photographer father Noel.

He said little Adam was constantly in pain. "He gets very agitated and can scream for hours on end while banging his head with his fist."

The proud parents almost lost Adam in May when he suffered a massive seizure at school. He was rushed to hospital and spent three days on a life-support machine. His parents believe that without the quick thinking of his school carer he would not have survived.

Proceeds from the Christmas cards will go to the Adam Kennedy Trust, which has been set up to fund Adam's ongoing medical and educational needs. For example, one therapy which may help restore his hearing costs €8,000 per session.

A fundraising swim will also take place on Aughris Beach in Templeboy, Co Sligo, on St Stephen's Day.

Irish Independent

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