Mum’s astonishment as disabled tot learns to talk, walk and play by copying her healthy twin sister
A little girl with cerebral palsy has learnt to talk, walk, and play by COPYING her healthy TWIN SISTER.
Felicity Williams, four, from Walsall, West Midlands, has cerebral palsy which causes communication and learning difficulties.
But thanks to copying her role model twin sister, Tiffany, she has managed to surprise her loving parents with her progress.
The twins’ proud mum and dad, Gary, 28, and Hayley, 27, believe that it’s thanks to the girls’ special bond that Felicity has developed so well.
Hayley said: “We’re so proud of our girls.
“Felicity has been able to watch her sister reach lots of milestones, and through copying has been able to reach them too.
“Tiffany has shown her sister how to roll over and sit up, and even walk.
“When Felicity began to speak, she was saying words that she’d heard her sister say.
“Even now, as the girls learn to read, Tiffany will help Felicity sound out words when she gets confused.
“We have always believed in Felicity and we know she’ll do well, but Tiffany has made a huge difference to her.
“They certainly have that twin thing going on – they’re soul mates.”
The couple first noticed Tiffany’s huge influence on her twin sister when the girls were learning to walk.
Hayley said: “We were starting to worry as Felicity had got to 18 months old and she still wasn’t walking – the cerebral palsy has really affected her right leg so it was a concern.
“A physiotherapist came to the house to try and teach her some exercises to help her walk, but she just wasn’t getting it.
“But then all of a sudden Tiffany stood up next to Felicity and showed her what to do.
“Felicity copied her sister immediately, and before we knew it she had learnt to walk.
“It was amazing – even the therapists agree that watching and copying her sister has had a huge impact on her.
“We’d already started to wonder if Felicity was looking to Tiffany to teach her things, but this proved it for us.”
Since then, Felicity has continued to copy her sister, and has continued to progress well.
Hayley said: “Felicity is a little behind other children her age, but copying her sister has helped her develop.
“Felicity used to be nervous about walking on grass – as she was a little unstable already with her leg she didn’t really like it, but Tiffany would hold her hand and show her what to do, and now she’s fine with it.
“Felicity has learnt how to use felt tips and do jigsaws because Tiffany does them all the time, and will show her how they work.
“Even when they were learning to talk, Felicity would repeat her sister.
“Tiffany would ask us for a drink, and then before we knew it so would Felicity – it’s really been incredible.”
When Tiffany and Felicity were born two and a half months early in February 2010, medics raced to keep the tiny babies alive.
After a tricky start to life, Tiffany was discharged after two months, but her twin sister faced a bigger struggle.
The girl’s dad, Gary, said: “When they were born neither of the girls could breathe on their own.
“It was a really scary time as we just expected to have two healthy babies – we were shell shocked.
“After initial breathing problem, Tiffany was doing really well, whilst Felicity developed a very serious bowel condition called neonatal necrotising enterocolitis – her bowel had started to die and was spreading to her other intestines.
“We didn’t know if she was going to make it, but luckily they were able to operate and save her life.
“After the operation they gave Felicity a brain scan and they noticed she had dark spots on her white brain matter.
“We had no idea what this meant but the doctors explained she’d developed periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) – a form of brain damage that can lead to cerebral palsy.
“We think she may have developed it due to the stress and trauma of her birth and operations – but we’ll never know 100%.
“It was horrible to learn that Felicity had this, but each day she slowly got better, and six months later she was finally discharged – it was a huge relief.”
Finally at home together, Hayley and Gary wondered whether their twins would ever bond after spending so much time apart.
Hayley said: “I really worried that they wouldn’t be close or they wouldn’t get on, because they’d basically been separated from birth, but it was exactly the opposite.
“From day one Tiffany has been a source of help and encouragement to her sister – she’s like a little mother hen.”
Now, at age four, the girls are continuing to surprise their parents, and grow closer every day.
Hayley said: “They’ve recently started dance classes together and they love it.
“Tiffany will always find things easier than her sister, but Felicity is coming on leaps and bounds and we couldn’t be prouder.
“Felicity is doing better and better each day, and she’s achieving so much.
“We think that Tiffany has grown into a very compassionate child – whenever a child in her class is upset she’ll always be the one to help.
“We’re incredibly proud of both of our girls.”
Felicity and Tiffany’s dad, Gary, is now hoping to compete in the London Marathon next year in aid of Birmingham Children’s hospital. To help him fundraise please visithttp://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/FelicityandTiffany.