Reaching out to the world with a smile

You might not think it from his cheerful smile, but Dexter has a genetic condition that makes his life really difficult. In this blog you can read how thanks to donations from supporters like you, Dexter and his family were able to turn to Scope’s vital parent befriending service. They were able to find the right kind of support at the right time.

If you were to meet four-year-old Dexter, the first thing you ’d notice is his extraordinary smile. It captivates everyone – even strangers in the street.

“Because Dexter is always smiling, he creates the most amazing connections with people,” his mum Carole explains. “When they see him looking so happy, their faces light up.”

“The smile belies a troubled heart”

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Dexter and his mum Carole

Dexter has Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that affects his development and movement. It also causes epileptic seizures, and limits his speech. But although Dexter faces huge challenges, he has a really happy nature.

“There’s so much going on behind Dexter’s smile,” Carole says. “It’s easy to forget the difficulties he faces. Dexter practically never has his balance, so he can fall at any time. Taking one step, trying to utter one word – he struggles with the everyday things.”

No one to turn to, no one who understood

Dexter’s smile brings him closer to the people around him. But Carole was isolated and alone as she waited for the results of his genetic tests.

“Waiting for the diagnosis was the most difficult part. There was a strong feeling of emptiness and anxiety. I couldn’t escape it, or share it with anyone. I didn’t know where to go for help.”

You connected Carole with a vital lifeline

Carole did find somewhere to go for help, thanks to you. She got in touch with our parent befriending service – one of the services that your gifts help fund. And we introduced her to Sav, a parent befriender whose daughter is also disabled.

Sav visited Carole’s house before Dexter was diagnosed, and they’ve been meeting regularly ever since. “We clicked immediately,” Carole says. “I knew I wasn’t going to be alone again.”

Facing the future together

Because of you, now it’s not just Dexter who’s smiling. Carole’s outlook has been transformed by Sav’s comforting words – and by your wonderful kindness.

“Even if I felt like a storm inside, Sav was always calm. Talking with her has definitely made me stronger. The terror I used to feel is gone, and I’m more confident about the future.”

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Dexter and his mum Carole

Dexter is making friends and thriving

Dexter’s future certainly looks bright. Last year, he started at a mainstream school for part of the week, and you’ll be pleased to hear that he’s settling in really well.

And by going to a mainstream school, other children have the chance to get to know a disabled child like Dexter which is such a valuable part of their education.

You are part of Dexter’s story

As we start our work in 2017, your support is more important than ever. Every ten minutes, a parent like Carole finds out their child is disabled. Just like her, they could be feeling isolated and alone. But we can only be there for them with your help.

Together, we can ensure more parents receive support when they need it most. Thank you for everything you do.

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we'll be here.

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