NEW RTA: Nieve

At 12 years old Nieve was knocked down by a car. Dad Rob talks about hospital, rehabilitation at The Children's Trust and life at home.

Published: June 2020. Date of brain injury: July 2018 (child aged 12) Nieve was 12 when she was run over on a zebra crossing in July 2018 by a drug driver travelling at 40mph. Nieve was taken to paediatric intensive care at Alder Hey Hospital. She stayed there for 22 days in an induced coma. I was told she was critical.

The early weeks in hospital

At hospital, I would sit there watching the machines with no control over anything and waiting for a miracle to happen. Very slowly, Nieve started to improve. I cannot even begin to explain what a relief it was. I stopped watching the machines so closely and dared let myself think about the future. In the meantime, Nieve’s brother also still had to be taken to school so I spent months taking six buses a day, between hospital and school. Emotionally and physically, it was exhausting.

Rehabilitation begins

Six months after the accident, we arrived at The Children’s Trust for intensive rehabilitation.  When we first arrived, Nieve couldn’t stand, walk, talk or feed herself. Nieve struggled with memory loss, which was particularly difficult for her as she was one of the smartest kids in her class. In fact, she was in the top 10 out of 270 in her year. Nieve was given a programme of intense rehabilitation – involving physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, music therapy, aquatic therapy, psychology and education. The speech and language therapy worked on building and strengthening Nieve’s voice, as well as helping her relearn how to articulate all the sounds needed for speech.

Music therapy

When Nieve was run over I found myself in a world where I had to learn about all these things I wish I’d never had to. Like music therapy. Music helped Nieve focus on what she could do, rather than what she couldn’t. It was a fantastic motivator for her. Nieve chose songs that expressed how she was feeling and that were motivating in her recovery. She was motivated by a desire to get her voice back as it sounded before her injury. When she first arrived at The Children’s Trust she would write down what she wanted to say, but by the time she left we could understand 90% of what Nieve was saying. To end her time at The Children’s Trust, Nieve, along with staff and friends, sang ‘Stay With Me’ by Sam Smith just before she rang the going home bell. It was such a proud moment for me.

Looking to the future

Nieve is now back at home
Now, Nieve can take steps by herself and has grown in confidence. She has got her voice back – and has wasted no time bossing me around! We couldn’t have done it without the help of the amazing staff and volunteers. Nieve is on the road to recovery and is progressing every day. She enjoys singing, doing her hair and make-up and baking, and is looking forward to getting outside again for short walks.
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