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A sense of release

Three-year-old Noah Barker used to feel trapped – inside his own head and his house. Satan’s Little Helper stepped in to help change that.

How frustrated do you feel when you’re in a conversation but you can’t get a word in? Think about the last time someone constantly railroaded your opinions and how many deep breaths you needed to calm down. Now imagine you’re three-years-old and you can’t make a sound. You’re also blind, on the autism spectrum and have a form of cerebral palsy. That’s not something any of us can really imagine, but that is what life is like for Noah Barker. “Noah’s thoughts are trapped inside his brain. He can get so frustrated he tries to bang his head against the floor,” explains his mum Soraya. “He doesn’t talk at all. He won’t make a sound even if accidentally hurts himself.” Born at just 25 weeks, Noah spent the first year of his life in hospital. He had heart surgery and then doctors operated on him to try and fix detached retinas in both eyes. “We knew the operation came with an element of risk,” says Soray, “and unfortunately Noah came out of it completely blind.” Because Noah was born so early, his development outside the womb has been delayed. He’s only just started to crawl and, because he’s blind, he needs to a use walker or be led by the hand. That means it’s difficult to include him in family fun time. “I get upset about it, because I want to treat all my kids the same,” says Soraya, “but we struggle to get Noah on our trips and activities.” A smart trike is one way Soraya can take Noah with the family, give him the same experience as her other two kids and keep an eye on him. Unfortunately, it was outside her financial reach, until Satan’s Little Helper stepped in. “The donation has been a life saver. He feels like a part of the family now. We can do things like go to the skate park and include him. The trike has a handle like as a pram, so Noah can peddle while I make sure he isn’t going to do anything dangerous.” Although Noah is blind, he’s still aware of his surroundings, explains Soraya. “He knows when we’re out and about and he loves to be a part of it. He’s a lot calmer now and we’ve been able to build fun family memories that include him. “Another big benefit is his improved sleep. Being blind means he doesn’t have proper sleep patterns, but when he’s out on the trike, he gets tired at night and sleeps a lot easier, which take a big weight off my shoulders as well.” While Noah still gets frustrated as he struggles to communicate, the time he spends with his family has help to alleviate those moments. He faces a long road ahead, but with the support of his family, Noah’s future is looking positive.

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