Valiant battler ready to do it herself
Stroke-suffering 5-year-old embraces challengeAMANDA PARKINSON
Invercargill 5-year-old Patrice McMurtrie wore a leg splint and a smile as she embarked on her first day of school at Donovan Primary.
While in her mother's womb five years ago, Patrice suffered a stroke that left the right side of her body slightly weaker and with less muscle tone.
She needs a leg splint to help her walk and has recently had botox injected into her right hand and calf muscle to help rebuild muscle strength.
With the support of the Waikiwi Kindergarten, Southland Hospital and her family, Patrice's first day of school yesterday left her mother feeling "stoked".
Sue McMurtrie spent the morning helping her daughter settle into the classroom but the vibrant young girl was eager to do it alone.
"Will you leave yet," she sheepishly whispered to her mum.
Mrs McMurtrie said her daughter was a strong child who rarely complained.
She credited her daughter's doctors and kindergarten for her remarkable rehabilitation that had enabled her to go to school without a support person.
Cases of strokes in young children were more common than many people realised and highlighted the fact that people could have a stroke at any age, Mrs McMurtrie said.
She said Donovan Primary School was an easy choice after the school focused on Patrice's capabilities.
"Most school's first question was about what she couldn't do, principal (Peter) Hopwood's outlook was all about what she can do."
Mr Hopwood said it was his philosophy to ensure the transition for students was as smooth as possible.
"When you have special needs child first starting school it can be just as hard for the parents," he said.
"It is all about communication - the parents know their child and are a great knowledge base for us to work from."
All children needed different levels of support and the school worked with everyone involved to ensure an inclusive and supportive environment, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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