Little Leo Palmer of Epworth has astounded medics by his progress in speech and movement.
The tot has cerebral palsy, and his young mum was told her son, who is almost three, would never talk or walk when he was diagnosed at one and a half.
But 26-year old Siobhan Edge spent every minute she could on her son’s development, and Leo is now a bright chatterbox who is also learning to master the art of movement.
“We knew nothing of Leo’s condition until we realised he was not sitting up or rolling at around seven months. He was a weighty baby so his lack of movement was blamed on that,” said single mum Siobhan.
“I had a scary labour in that Leo was born with his cord round his neck, but his hand was in there too, which prevented it tightening.
“It wasn’t until he had an MRI scan that we learned the extent of his problems.
“We were told he would never talk but he chatters away like any toddler, and he’s so determined. He says: ‘I will walk one day mummy but I’ve got poorly legs.”
Siobhan also has a daughter, nine-year old Kaycee-Mae, who, along with other family, nominated her mum for the Pride of the Isle award that she won and was presented with on January 25. Kaycee-Mae described Siobhan as a “special mummy” for spending so much time with her children.
“Hospitals play a large part in our lives...we had about 60 visits last year.
“I was told Leo wouldn’t speak due to the extent of his brain damage, and I’ve been told the reason he does is because I’ve encouraged him, but I think that’s just what parents do,” said Siobhan.
“Kaycee plays with Leo too. We learn colours and numbers, and do jigsaws, which he loves.
“It’s not just me. Without the support of people like my mum and Leo’s dad, Richard Palmer, I wouldn’t have got through.”
As a young mum of 16 Siobhan had early trauma with Kaycee. She was born 10 weeks prematurely weighing 3lbs 3oz.
“I used to buy dolls’ clothes for her. But thankfully she progressed well and is a little star,” added her mum.
“We do get upset for Leo. He would like to go running down the street like other kids, but we are lucky in what he can do.”
There is no prognosis as such for Leo, but if there is any possibility he can walk, then he will, said Siobhan.
Leo attends playgroup three times a week at Belton, and has a specially adapted wheelchair.
“I cried when I got the letter about the award,” said Siobhan. “It’s lovely to be appreciated but I feel there are more worthy people out there. To get Leo where he needs to be needs as much help as possible, and I’m his mother so that’s my job.”