Henrique is a lively toddler who likes playing with his building blocks and games of hide and seek with his big brother Duarte, who is four. He was born with a cystic hygroma, causing excess fluid and swelling around his neck meaning he needed a tube in his throat.
Henrique had come home from hospital traumatised and very sensitive to touch. His first trip to Richard House was for sessions to help him recover from this. These sessions really helped and he went on to have music therapy, which helped him connect with his voice and experience sounds in different ways.
Mum, Andreia, said: “It was amazing, here was a child who physically couldn’t say anything, but music therapy really worked for him and now he can say a few words!
“Richard House helps us to live our lives as a family and as individuals. When we come here we don’t have to explain ourselves to anyone because the staff know what we are going through. We feel like we can be ourselves here, and we know no one will say ‘what a strange looking child’. Coming to Richard House is just like coming home.
“Sometimes it’s easier to relate to people who have been through the stresses of hospitals. We bounce ideas off each other on how to deal with living with a disabled child. You need to rest and keep healthy to look after a child with a disability, so things like this are wonderful.”
Henrique’s feeding tube was removed recently and he can now be spoon fed, which is a huge milestone.
“We take it day by day – if we didn’t we would go crazy. Richard House has helped us to get back on our feet and give him a better chance in life. We feel positive about the future.”