Harry’s first taste of independence

The generous $2,610 contribution from Variety, the Children’s Charity towards a walker has given four-year-old Harry Davenport the priceless gift of hope.

Harry in his walking frame

Harry has the developmental age of a six-month old, cannot walk or speak, is severely vision impaired and needs help for all of his self-care requirements. He attends The Infants’ Home school at Ashfield five days a week, where he regularly accesses specialised teaching from occupational and play therapists, and a speech therapist is slowly showing him some sign language to enable him to communicate with others.

Harry’s walker has made an unbelievable difference to his quality of life. His mother Emma explains, “During the week the walker stays at school, and Harry spends most of his time in it. He adores being around his school friends, loving nothing more than being immersed in all of the noise and activities, such as music and painting. He’s a very popular boy, and in his walker he is at eye level with his peers, which is vital for meaningful interaction with them, and he, most amazingly, he can now even propel himself for short distances, giving Harry his first taste of independence.
“The walker is extraordinary. It’s sturdy and large, and encourages him to stand and move. It has a dynamic movement on a suspension system, to mimic a walking movement, and he sits in a little saddle. The walker enables him to put weight on his legs, which will make them stronger, and there is now a good chance that in the future he may be able to actually stand, unaided, and there is a possibility that he could eventually be able to walk.”

Harry and family

As Harry’s only options for communicating are crying, laughing and yelling, he can have quite challenging behaviour issues, but is slowly and surely achieving new milestones. He can now feed himself, and while he’s been assessed as being legally blind, his vision does seem to be improving, in fact this year, for the first time, he made and held direct eye contact with his Mum.

Emma says, “We wish to express our gratitude to Variety for the enormously positive impact the walker has made to our family’s life. You’ve made such a difference to a little boy’s life. Everything we invest in now is to help make Harry’s future the best it can be. Even though Andy and I both work full-time, the money we earn is not enough to buy all of the special equipment, therapy and schooling that Harry requires, and we’re so thankful to Variety for helping us to help Harry.