Charli-Mai is a real daddy’s girl. She and her dad Mark have lots of fun playing together and if there’s anything Charli-Mai needs, her dad is the first person she asks for.
Mark describes his eight year old daughter as “feisty and independent.” But when he held his newborn baby for the first time, he was filled with worry about Charli-Mai’s future.
During the second trimester of pregnancy, Mark and his wife Sarah discovered they were going to have a child with Down’s syndrome. They were told over the phone. After Charli-Mai was born, they were assigned a health visitor but she’d never dealt with a child with Down’s syndrome before.
It wasn’t until Sarah and Mark were put in touch with Scope’s Face 2 Face Coordinator Denise that their fear and confusion began to subside. Mark remembers, “From the day we first met her she said ‘My phone is always on.’”
Denise introduced Mark and Sarah to other parents of disabled children, so they could share stories and advice about caring for a disabled child. The group has been extremely helpful for Mark as he says he always struggled to open up to people around him. He can share experiences, ask for advice or just have a chat. The groups have helped him realise he’s not alone and opened his eyes to new ways of making the most of being Charli-Mai’s dad.
Thanks to Scope’s Face 2 Face befriending service, Charli-Mai got involved with crafts, games and activities so she could make friends with other children. “If we hadn’t been introduced to Denise,” says Mark, “we wouldn’t have such a positive outlook about Charli’s future as we have now.”
“Having a child with a disability splits families up, but it brought us closer together. We’re stronger than ever now.”
Charli-Mai says, “I love my dad and my mum. I like swimming and going out with them.”
Thanks to your kind donations through Payroll Giving more families of disabled children like Charli-Mai’s can receive the support they need.