Enchanting Rylee Giddings looks cute and content asleep on the sofa at her parents’ Pewsey home.
But at 20 months old she is still unable to sit up unaided.
Her parents Zoe and Stuart of Stratton Road are being supported by staff at Devizes Opportunity Centre.
Mrs Giddings, 25, said: “Everyone at the opportunity centre is truly remarkable. We do not know what the future holds for Rylee but just going to the centre gives me the strength to carry on.
“I have a lot of support from my family and friends in Pewsey but sometimes you just need to talk to someone who truly understands what you are going through. All the children there have different needs but the parents understand what it is like to have a child who doesn’t follow normal expectations.”
Mr and Mrs Giddings, who both grew up in Pewsey, have two older children Tyler, four, and Skye, five, and did not suspect anything was wrong when Rylee was born at Great Western Hospital, Swindon.
Mrs Giddings said: “When Rylee was born she did not breathe for about five minutes but no-one seemed overly worried and we were allowed to go home the next day.”
But soon Rylee started to suffer from acute reflux, which is when milk comes back up the oesophagus, and when she was about six weeks old she stopped breathing and was rushed to hospital by ambulance.
She underwent tests and was diagnosed as having microcephaly (small head circumference) and global development delay, which means everything from movement to communication is affected.
Rylee is also visually impaired and is not easily stimulated.
She sleeps much of the time and her parents and staff at the nursery have to work hard to keep her awake so they can try to interest her in new things.
Mrs Giddings said: “This will seem like a tiny thing to most people but the other day when we were at the nursery Rylee nudged a tray that was in front of her with her hand. This was a big step for us.”
Mrs Giddings, whose husband is manager of Bathwick Tyres in Devizes, urged people to support the Gazette’s appeal to raise £10,000 for the centre to help make up for a cut in its grant.
She said: “It is a fantastic place. We hope to do some fundraising ourselves.
"Not everyone in Pewsey knows about the opportunity centre and I only heard about it because I was a volunteer at Pewsey Children’s Centre. It is great that the Gazette is publicising its work.
“It is good that all of the health professionals come into the centre and so if you have any worries you can ask them.”
- You can donate through virginmoneygiving.com at http://tinyurl.com/oarw99t