Road traffic accident: Teni

Teni was two-years-old when she was involved in a car accident which left her with spinal and cervical injuries as well as a brain injury. Her family shared her story aged four, when she was receiving rehabilitation at The Children’s Trust.

Published: January 2016. Date of brain injury: 2014 (child aged 2 years).
Teni was a bubbly two-year-old who was meeting all her milestones. She enjoyed going to nursery and loved all things pink. But life took a terrible turn for the family when Teni was involved in a car crash. She sustained spinal and cervical injuries as well as a brain injury which affected her ability to move and communicate. She couldn’t breathe for herself, had to be fed through a tube and was completely confined to her hospital bed. After six months in hospital, Teni was transferred to The Children’s Trust. On arrival, Teni had very limited communication. She couldn’t speak and was physically restricted because of severe muscle impairment. This meant she couldn’t express herself and had little head control so couldn’t nod or shake her head or turn to see her parents. Her therapists and care team immediately worked at overcoming the barriers to Teni’s communication. Speaking with the aid of a speaking valve was difficult so she was introduced to an Eye Gaze tracking device. The device displays different pictures on a screen. Built-in cameras track which image is looked at the most. Blinking controls the ‘click’ or select function and allows the child to make a decision on which image they want to explore. The physiotherapy, speech and language and occupational therapists all worked together to help Teni develop the skills to use the system correctly. With the encouragement of her therapists she gradually understood how the system worked to her advantage. The Eye Gaze has given Teni independence and she is now using it to express choices to her family. She even plays games on it! Although she is not talking much, Speech and Language sessions have taught and encouraged her to make more noises and to vocalise. She recently managed to say ‘hi’ to her mum, which was a massive step.

We have given Teni’s carers, therapists, LTV team, doctors a new name the “Teni Angels”. They have all been instrumental in supporting Teni, our family and joining us in keeping ‘hope’ alive. We can see a bright future for Teni and have great faith in what lies ahead."Teni's parents

Throughout her rehabilitation, Teni’s personality has grown significantly. Through physiotherapy her head control has improved greatly which means she has more ability to express herself and engage with her surroundings. Teni has sensation in her legs but limited movement at the moment but a specially fitted spinal jacket and ankle braces give her extra support and she uses a standing frame daily. Thanks to her therapists and some incredible technology, Teni is able to convey how she is feeling and engage with others, allowing her sparkle and personality to return more each day.
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