Kidspot article: The day he finally learnt to take his jumper off... we all burst into tears

Kidspot article: The day he finally learnt to take his jumper off... we all burst into tears

May 21, 2020

Thank you to Claire Haiek and Mel Wilson from Kidspot and Casey Holmes (Will's mum) for the touching story in Kidspot, on how inc kid has helped Will to learn to self dress. 

We often take simple things for granted. We get out of bed each morning, brush our teeth, grab some breakfast and we watch our kids do the same.

But have you stopped and wondered what life would be like to not be able to do those things for yourself?

Imagine watching your child unable to do the simplest tasks like being able to take off a jumperwhen they're hot.

Imagine learning those basic skills and then suddenly having to start all over again from scratch.


"He wouldn't wake up"

Four-year-old Will was once an independent toddler, but on a Monday afternoon two years ago all that changed.

"He was at daycare and I had a call at work to say that he was crying, really upset, inconsolable," his mum Casey told Kidspot.

Casey left work straight away, but when she arrived at his family daycare, Will appeared to be asleep. So she sat down for a chat with his carer while she shared a few cuddles with her son.

"He went to vomit," Casey recalled, "and then he wouldn't wake up. So we called the ambulance."

Will was rushed to hospital where a CT scan confirmed he had suffered a bleed on his brain as a result of a stroke.

Casey said those early days were "indescribable."

The following weeks were a blur for the Holmes family with Casey and her husband, James, taking it in turns alternating a night in the hospital with Will while the other spent the night at home with his big sister, Sophia who was four at the time.




"It was difficult"

Will was transferred down to Sydney from their local hospital in Newcastle where he had an operation to remove a part of his skull.

He spent 10 days in the ICU and was then transferred back to a hospital near the family home. 

"It was difficult," Casey said. "Mum and Dad were very involved, they'd take Sophia to preschool. We tried to keep her in her regular routine as best we could."

Doctors were unable to definitively diagnose just why Will had a stroke.

They initially thought it may have been the result of an AVM ('arteriovenous malformation') which is when "a tangle of blood vessels in the brain bypasses normal brain tissue and directly diverts blood from the arteries to the veins" according to

The Holmes family may never have an explanation for how it happened, but what they do know is that their little boy is a fighter.


"It was like having a newborn baby again"

Will has since had to re-learn all the skills he'd learnt from when he was a baby.

Casey said, "He had to learn how to swallow again, and how to eat and speak and walk. It was like having a newborn baby again, except he was two-and-a-half."

"It's even better watching him the second time around though. Just his speech even and the order he said his words again - he said 'dad', 'pop'... he said 'mum' last but it was the best.

"His third surgery was to replace the bone they'd removed at the beginning. That morning he said 'mum'."

Will has done so well he recently graduated from speech therapy and he can now take off his own jumper unassisted thanks to new inclusive clothing range, inc kid.

Casey said Will's been working on learning different things since his stroke.

"About 12 months ago one of his OT's preferences was purely independent dressing. He really struggled with that."

"When I saw the inc kid jumpers with the bigger necks on Instagram, I said, 'yes we need to get one of those, we need to trial it!'," Casey said.

"At first he couldn't put it on... so I said 'how about you try and take it off?' and then he did. Everyone cried, we were all so happy for him."

When his dad came home, Will showed off his new trick again and gained the confidence he needed to move on to try other things.

"It's also led to other clothes," said Casey. "He's now able to take off other jumpers and other shirts as well, but before he couldn't."

Will also wears an AFO (ankle foot orthotic) and an SMO (supra-malleolarorthotic) to help him walk, but luckily inc kid's jeans are also easy for Will to pull up himself!


About inc kid

Inc kid is a cool, adaptive kids' clothing range that accommodates children who wear AFOs or hand splints through their use of large openings at the neck, sleeve, and leg. They also make dressing easier for kids with tight muscles and/or dexterity challenges and the range is also gender-neutral and super cute.

Prue Nix from Child First Therapy is an occupational therapist of nearly 20 years who helped design this cleverly inclusive clothing range. Prue has extensive experience working with kids and their families and really enjoys helping children work towards self-care goals.

"Learning to dress and undress independently is such a common goal for children and their families and there can be many challenges," said Prue. "Kids can really struggle to develop independence with dressing skills when clothes don’t accommodate their orthotics, prosthetics, or reduced range, grasp, or strength."

"It is great to see the clothing range from inc kid giving a solution to these challenges. I love seeing kids’ faces light up with achievement and empowerment when they learn to dress and undress. Adaptable clothing can really help."



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