Shannon's Story | Enable Ireland

Personal Stories

Hear first-hand from parents and adults with experience of Enable Ireland services.

Shannon's Story

Marie is mum to Shannon (age 9) and lives in Boherbue, Co. Cork with dad and sisters Lisa and Rachel.  Shannon has attended Enable Ireland Cork Children’s Services since she was two years old. 

“When Shannon was just 13 days old she had to have heart surgery and in the months afterwards, she kept missing her development milestones – sitting, crawling, walking. At first, we put this down to recovering from the surgery and her time spent in an incubator but when she was two years old our public health nurse referred her for an MRI and this showed that Shannon had Cerebral Palsy. Shannon is very lucky in that only the lower half of her body is affected and her right side more so than her left side. Once we had this diagnosis, we were referred to Enable Ireland in Cork to start therapy there including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language and psychology services. They have been absolutely amazing for Shannon from the first day we went along. Shannon’s type of Cerebral Palsy means that her muscles can get very tight and this affects here particularly as she grows. We have regular physiotherapy sessions to keep her muscles strong and Shannon also uses ankle and foot orthotics, which help to give her extra support when she walks. Shannon had a big growth spurt this year and this has affected her even more than usual so we have to keep doing the physio with Enable Ireland and at home. She gets Botox injections every year to help reduce the stiffness in her muscles. 

Because her muscles get so tight, the physio can be hard for Shannon, but she still does it. Walking long distances is really tough for her and at the moment we are waiting for a wheelchair, which will make longer trips possible. All the therapy she has received from Enable Ireland over the years has made a huge difference to Shannon. She has improved so much. When you are with one of the therapists they treat your child like they are the most important child in the service. This makes such a difference to them and to the families. 

There are still things that Shannon is working on, for example she has difficulty sometimes with her balance and so she can’t ride a bike. Things like this can affect her confidence so it’s great when we find things that she loves to do like her Irish dancing. 

We can’t wait for the new Children’s Service Centre in Curraheen to open next year. Shannon is especially looking forward to the brand new hydrotherapy pool. Thanks to all the hydrotherapy sessions at Enable Ireland, she absolutely loves swimming!

For Shannon, it’s about being able to feel like any other eight-year-old girl. She is obsessed with Harry Potter, loves all the films and reading the books. And she loves Minecraft and has already been to two conventions already this year. She is very bubbly and really intelligent. What she may lack physically, she makes up for academically!”