Fall: Clare and Isabella

Isabella Woodfine from Lincoln was playing at the park when an accident left her with a brain injury at 4 years old.

Isabella was playing on a bridge when her friend picked her up. The pair then fell and Isabella hit her head on the floor.

Here Isabella's mum, Clare, shares her experience.

Published: November 2015. Child’s age at time of brain injury: 4 years.

Isabella with her family
What were your thoughts when you were given the news?

When the doctor in A&E told us what he had found on Isabella's CT scan I immediately thought the worst. I couldn't believe how playing at a park could result in such trauma, I was heartbroken and couldn't help but feel why us? Why has this happened to my beautiful baby? I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.  

In the early days is there anything you wished the doctors had done differently that would have helped?

The doctors and everyone that helped Isabella were 100% amazing, not only with Isabella but also with us. We didn't have a clue what would happen or what was happening and they assured us and kept us in the know the whole time. 

Tell us a little bit about life since the brain injury.

Life since Isabella's injury has been hard. We found Isabella had many tantrums due to frustration and tiredness. She started school in September and started out by going just a couple of hours. With the help of Alison, our brain specialist, we have gradually got her doing 4.5 hours and hopefully she will be doing more by Christmas but we are taking everything as it comes. Isabella usually attends a weekly ballet class which she still hasn't returned to, but hopefully that will follow soon. 

What were other people's reactions to Isabella’s brain injury?

My friends and family have been amazing and I could not have gotten through without them. I dreaded having to ring my mum to tell her about Isabella's accident. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and I felt like a failure as a mummy for letting this happen to our child. I struggled for a little while after with the effects of the trauma but the people that mattered have been there for me and I will be forever thankful to them. 

What are the remaining effects of the brain injury and can you share some of the strategies you use to help?

The main effect Isabella experiences from the accident is fatigue. She has to have a nap each day or she becomes so frustrated and upset. She also has a couple of little problems with memory but nothing that concerns us at the moment. We have a few tools to help Isabella: we have a visual timetable so she knows what is happening every day and a timer which helps with keeping her mind in control. 

What are your expectations and hopes for the future?

Our hope for the future is that Isabella can go on to live a normal life without any complications, which we are confident she will do. 

If you could give one piece of advice or encouragement to other parents what would it be?

My advice to others in the same situation would be this: Time.  It's absolutely a healer. And communication.  Talk to people and tell them your feelings and fears. Also take up the help of The Children's Trust, Alison has been fantastic and has helped us so much.  
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