‘Why can’t I find help for my disabled daughter’

Stephanie Lowe with her daughter Kiera (correct) at home in Bamber Bridge
Stephanie Lowe with her daughter Kiera (correct) at home in Bamber Bridge
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  • Mum fears lack of help could force her to quit work
  • Local nurseries say they can’t take two-year-old Kiera
  • Mum says she needs to work to keep ‘sanity’

A young mum fears she may be forced to give up work because she can’t find a nursery to take her disabled daughter.

Kiera Lowe-Melling has cerebral palsy, resulting in the two-and-a-half year old being epileptic.

She has severe development problems and visual impairment and is tube fed via a pump.

Despite her problems, the youngster went to a mainstream nursery from the age of 10 months. But, since she had an operation last November Stephanie has been unable to find anywhere willing to take her on.

Mum Stephanie Lowe , from Mounsey Road in Bamber Bridge, Preston, said: “They were great with Kiera. She had her ups and downs with chest infections, increased seizures and endless visits and admissions to hospital. She had problems with reflux and sometimes her medication would come up, so the nursery was having to call me out of work. In October she was taken by ambulance from nursery because her seizures increased and that was their protocol. They had to administer emergency aid.”

An x-ray revealed Kiera had fluid on her lungs.

Stephanie, 32, added: “I was struggling to put her down at night in case she was sick. She was due to have an operation in January but I spoke to her specialists at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and after months of trying to get it done she had surgery to deal with her reflux problems in November.”

The operation to fit a feeding tube controlled pump was a huge success and Stephanie said: “She is doing great, no more sickness,pain and stress for us as a family.”

However, after the surgery Stephanie was devastated to find out that the nursery could no longer cope with her daughter’s needs.

The mum said: “We tried to see options where the nursery could try to meet her needs but we weren’t successful.

“So I have been off work sick since November 2014 with stress due to Kiera’s circumstances.”

Admin assistant Stephanie said she needs to get back to work and added: “I have been trawling around nurseries trying to see if anyone can meet her complex needs. They need storage space for her seating and standing equipment, and be willing to learn how to feed Kiera and administer her epilepsy medication.”

Training can be provided, but the family has now been told that a hoist needs to be to be used when changing Kiera because she is above the weight for one person to lift her.

Kiera has an official statement of special needs which has led to her getting respite at a hospice in Liverpool once a month.

Stephanie said: “ I have been talking to Parent Partnership, Lancashire County Council and have even gone down the route of speaking to a child minder coordinator to see if I can get someone willing to take her on.

“She has a placement at The Coppice School one day a 
week but that is not really 
helping me. I need my hours at work.

“I only work three days because Kiera has to have occupational therapy and porterage and a lot of people, like family and friends, have tried to help but I need to work.

“I have been off with stress since the operation. I had booked a week off, but then she had no nursery place.

My partner Scott Melling, 42,is a self employed joiner so works as and when it is available. I need to work - if only for my sanity.

“Kiera loves to be around people and I think it is important for her development to be around other children.”

Brendan Lee, Lancashire County Council’s head of special educational needs and disability, said: “We understand that this can be a difficult time and we’ll do all we can to support Kiera and her parents.”

He added that there were different nursery care options available which will be discussed at a review meeting.

Stephanie’s friends set up a surprise Facebook page to help raise funds for equipment for Kiera and her dad is doing a sponsored bike ride in July to raise funds for cerebral palsy.