Making a splash

24th October 2003 at 01:00
Sandra Schueler cannot fault Chailey, where her son James, now 12, has been a pupil since he was two-and-a-half. Because of his severe cerebral palsy, he communicates with eye movements and is fed through a tube in his stomach.

"It's a happy place and we couldn't ask for better," says Mrs Schueler (pictured above with James), who lives with her husband, Peter, in Cooksbridge, just four miles away. "James got the last place in the pre-school that year. Others had to wait at least a term. They made him a special harness which meant he could sit for the first time in his life, and they spotted that he was using his eyes to communicate and helped him with that.

"The engineers adapted a trike for him. He loves the library, the stories and the music. He's ridden a pony and he swims. They taught him switch control, which means he can use a computer. They've given him the ability to choose. On top of all the good they've done James, we get four nights'

respite a month - the only time off we ever get - when he spends the night in one of the bungalows there with his own room, television and CD player, and 24-hour nursing care.

"Mainstream would never be right for James, and we've been lucky to have Chailey Heritage near us."

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