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Music as therapy

Lottie dances to her music player - provided by Satan's Little Helper

Lottie Hudson hasn’t had too many opportunities for joy during her first 18 months but that’s been changed thanks to the well-timed arrival of a music playing device.

“My husband Matt and I have found Lottie cold, grey and unresponsive four times,” explains mum Sian. “The first time it happened, I panicked, but thankfully Matt is in the military, so is calmer under pressure and he phoned an ambulance.”

It turns out that Lottie has bilateral vocal cord dysfunction, which means she can’t control the movement of the muscles that control her voice. Dysfunctional vocal cords are dangerous, because they also control things like breathing.

Rebel vocal chords

“It was explained to me like this,” Sian says. “Normal vocal cords open when people breathe and close when they eat and drink. Lottie’s do whatever they want, when they want. If she’s eating, they can open and she’s at risk of inhaling food into her lungs.

“Her airway also gets blocked when her vocal cords don’t open properly and that’s when she can’t breathe.”

That explains why Sian and Matt have come perilously close to losing Lottie.

“If her airway is blocked during the day, she can normally self-correct, but she can’t when she’s asleep.”

Thankfully, Lottie now has an oxygen monitor and a canister on stand-by should the worst happen again.

“We’ve now got good plans in place and we know what to do if things go bad again.”

Just wants to dance

Her parents might be on constant high alert, but Lottie is a happy-go-lucky kid, who hardly ever cries, loves playing with her sister, and will dance to anything with a beat.

Lottie’s condition is incurable, so Satan’s Little Helper wanted to do something that would give her some joy and happiness in between trips to the doctor or hospital – two things that have left her with some understandable trauma.

That’s why we got her a My First Music Player.

“She absolutely loves it!” says Sian. “She’ll use it multiple times a day and dances the whole time music is playing. She’s a good dancer, too! It’s so cute to watch her and it brings her so much happiness.

“I think she knows that her life is a bit different to other kids and there’s things she knows she can’t do that others can. That’s why seeing her having fun and dancing to the music brings so much joy to us all because, for those few minutes, she’s just a typical kid and it takes our stress away.”

Sian says Lottie takes it wherever she goes and it’s helping her to use her words more.

Good for her learning!

“It's really helping her language development. She’s able to produce a few more sounds, like ‘ick and ock’ for tick and tock, ‘un’ for run and ‘ance’ for dance. She's so happy with it.”

It’s been a “saving grace” during her hospital trips, too.

“We went recently and she endured blood tests, x-rays and MRI scans. The music box stopped her thrashing around; she would just cuddle with me, hold back tears and do a little dance.

“This has changed our whole hospital experience, as she was absolutely terrified before.

“We still have a very sick little girl, but we got through it with so much less tears and upset.”


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