My son has always been busy, he likes lots of things, he has his swimming, his Cubs, a theatre club and his guitar lessons.

When Bella was younger I worried about her disabilities holding her back from doing what she wanted and to a certain extent they have. 

Bella would love to dance, more than anything she would like to attend a ballet class and learn to stand on her tiptoes but that’s just not going to be possible where we live.

We have found two activities though that she absolutely loves: horse riding and swimming.

We started the horse riding at the beginning of the year straight after she had some Botox injections, which meant she could actually get her legs around the horse.

She was nervous at first but she sat beautifully on the pony and even did some trotting on her third lesson.  

The movement of horse riding relaxes Bella's stiff joints and improves balance and posture.

She always slept well the nights after riding and she absolutely loved meeting all the horses and learning their names.

If I’m honest, I didn’t enjoy it at all! 

I thought there would be extra equipment holding her on or something. 

It was so scary watching her on the ponies, knowing she could lose her balance or the horse could throw her off at any moment!

The Botox wore off and unfortunately it just became too painful for Bella to get her legs over.

We have found a better-suited riding school for Bella but she cannot start there until she is five, so she is having a few months off but really looking forward to taking it up again.

I’ve been looking for over a year for a swimming school with experience teaching disabled swimmers but hadn’t had any luck.

Bella enjoyed swimming as a toddler but quickly got left behind.

It seemed to make more sense that she would be better with 1:1 lessons.

In August, someone gave me the name of a company not too far from us. They were busy but we managed to squeeze in one Thursday evening.

The slot was quite close to Bella’s bedtime so I wasn’t sure it was going to work.

She’s only been going for 6 weeks but she is doing fantastically.

She asks to go everyday!

Every morning when she wakes up she asks if it’s swimming day.

The teacher she has is fantastic; she knows exactly what she is doing.

In six weeks, Bella has learnt to float independently on her front, her back, and she’s even fetching things from the bottom of the pool.

We have no idea how far Bella will go with her swimming as she can’t kick in the water but she is having so much fun it doesn’t really matter, her confidence is so amazing.

The last activity we haven’t started yet.

It’s a once-a-month sports club for children in wheelchairs.

This one will be more of a chance for Bella to be social and hopefully find some new friends.

I also hope it will enable her to see what she is capable of in her chair as it can be difficult in a mainstream school to see what she can achieve.

We live in a small town, we do have to travel for all of Bella’s activities which we don’t have to do so much for Ollie.

But it’s worth it to see how happy it makes her.

None of them have been easy to find, I didn’t stumble across them on the internet they were all word of mouth so if it seems there is nothing in your area don’t give up!

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