Kirsty Robertson, Kidscene

Kirsty Robertson, KidsceneKirsty Robertson attends Kidscene, our after school and holiday club.


Kirsty's Story

Kirsty Robertson is 15 years old, and has no memory of the first five years of her life.  At 5 years old Kirsty contracted encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and was in a medically induced coma for three weeks. When she woke up, she was blind with no perception of light. All her muscle tone had gone. She didn’t recognise anyone.  All her brain functions took a hit.

The implications of her brain injury are broad ranging. Although not diagnosed as autistic, many of her responses are similar. Her language skills are affected and she is fixated with routine. Care for her is quite nuanced. She is a challenge for carers, as she has no perception of danger and risk, and has to be supported every minute.

Kidscene -  A Parent's View

Kirsty’s mother Sheila works in the Crown Office and Prosecution Service in Edinburgh.  She was 38 when Kirsty contracted encephalitis and her life changed for ever. She was off work for 18 months caring for Kirsty, and has a younger daughter Mairi, aged 12. Sheila said:

"Kidscene is a fantastic resource for us. It offers integrated after-school and holiday club facilities for children of all abilities, including those who are visually impaired, from the Royal Blind School as well as schools in the local area. Kirsty attends Braidburn Special School and attends Kidscene every Friday afternoon. It's the big treat of the week - it's 'Kirsty's Club' - that's how she sees it. Before Kidscene, Friday afternoons consisted of trailing around with mum facilitiating her 12 year old sister Mairi's schedule - like going to Hillend ski-club - a hopeless environment for a visually impaired child. The great thing about Kidscene is that it is for kids of all ages and abilities, providing a great opportunity for Kirsty to mix with other children. 

"Kirsty loves the hydrotherapy pool with tunes playing in the water which for Kirsty is like magic. She loves the soft play area, and has become friends with a girl of 7, who helps Kirsty to open her yoghurt pots and holds them still whilst she eats.  Kirsty can be really funny at times. It’s hard to capture Kirsty’s idiosyncracies in a sentence or two. In some ways Kirsty lives in an Alice in Wonderland version of reality. She likes arts and crafts, especially with trays of glitter. She enjoys anything tactile. The staff at Kidscene are fantastic - they work hard to establish a rapport, to push Kirsty along and challenge her rigidity.

"Since leaving hospital in September 2004, Kirsty has learned to speak again. She is now registered blind with a central visual impairment and has some sight.  I’ve learnt from my daughter that there is more than one way of looking at the world. She makes the best use of the faculties that she does have to understand her world and enjoy life."