Joe's a typical boy, thank goodness

THERE was a time when Joe Orchard's body was encased in plaster up to his waist.He had a bar between his knees to keep them apart and prevent his hips from dislocating.

THERE was a time when Joe Orchard's body was encased in plaster up to his waist.

He had a bar between his knees to keep them apart and prevent his hips from dislocating.

He had never walked, and although he could communicate so that his parents, Lee and Simon, could understand him, his vocabulary was limited.

For Joe, of High Street, Bildeston, was born with cerebral palsy.


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But it was not until he was 11 months old that tests revealed the full extent of the damage and that Joe had the spastic quadriplegic form of cerebral palsy.

It meant that his muscles tensed up and went into spasm, so he had never been able to crawl, walk or sit unaided and he had difficulty speaking.

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But Joe turned out to be a fighter and was a regular at the Thomas Wolsey School, Ipswich, even when he was in plaster.

Now aged eight he is a cheerful, charming and communicative little boy with very decided opinions about his likes and dislikes.

His mother said the facilities at the school, where he has an electric wheelchair and a computer, had helped tremendously.

His parents have spent years fund raising to meet his needs as he gets older and a trust fund has been set up, run by Lee's mother and Simon's father, Des Feasey.

It has helped the family to arrange for regular visits from a specialist, called a conductor, to come over from the Peto Institute in Hungary.

Lee, 43, is convinced this extra specialist help has also helped Joe to progress so far so quickly.

Joe is currently receiving three weeks of daily two-hour therapy sessions– shared with three other children in Suffolk to help meet the costs of bringing Clara, his conductor here.

Despite of everything, Joe is a typical boy. He loves to watch football, rugby and motorcycling on television with his father, and also loves music. For Christmas his favourite gift was a table football set.

Also, having seen the progress he makes each time he has intensive sessions with a Peto conductor, Lee believes the next step could be to go to Hungary for one of the clinic's longer, extended summer courses.

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