ALEX Loskot’s life came crashing down around her four years ago when her seemingly perfectly healthy child was diagnosed with a severe disability that would make simple tasks such as walking and talking almost impossible.
With the family life she had envisaged totally shattered, Alex was left in turmoil, struggling with a child whose needs were so complex yet receiving only a couple of hours of NHS therapy a month for her little girl.
Desperate to give her daughter, Sophia, the best chance in life, she searched for private clinics for more regular therapy sessions but discovered that there was no one place that offered all the therapies needed by Sophia, who suffers from global developmental delay and autism, under one roof.
But a trip abroad transformed their lives forever and now Alex is on a mission to give Hampshire families with disabled children the life-changing experience that has seen her daughter achieve things she never dared dream would be possible.
With help from her partner and Sophia’s dad, Simon Trant, Alex has opened Sophia’s House, a private clinic offering many different therapies for special needs children and support for their parents.
The opening comes just five months after Alex saw for herself just how much improvement Sophia made when she had access to several therapy sessions a week, rather than the few hours of sessions she was being given on the NHS.
Alex, 34, from Bassett, said: “The therapies Sophia received on the NHS were absolutely great, but the problem I had with them was the number of therapy sessions she was allowed.
“It was so frustrating because I could see the improvements she made in one session, but by the time we came to the next one, so much time had passed that she had forgotten it all and we were starting from scratch again.
“I looked for a place that could offer Sophia all the therapies she needed under one roof but I couldn’t find one and so I took her to Poland, where I am from, for ten months where she received up to 12 sessions a week.
“The change in her was just incredible. When we came back to the UK, my friends couldn’t believe how much she had improved. I knew from that point that therapy was the way forward for Sophia.
“Her whole behaviour had changed. She was now sociable, interacting with other children and communicating with us.
“We were told she would never walk, but she now runs and her sign language is brilliant.
“If this is what she could achieve in just ten months, who knows what she can achieve in ten years and this is what has kept me going.
“The results don’t come quickly but when they do, it is such an achievement.
“Sophia is my inspiration.
These children deserve the chance to reach their full potential, so I will not give up on them.”
After five months of getting the clinic set up, doors are now open to children, offering a range of therapies, including physiotherapy, speech therapy, and sensory sessions, as well as parent support – which is important to Alex.
She added: “As a parent of a disabled child I know how tough life can be. But I know that life can get easier and I what to try and help parents realise that.
“At the beginning, when you are told your child is disabled, you just think that your life is over and all you think about is the things that your child can’t or won’t be able to do.
“You have your ups and down, but Sophia gave me the strength because I could see how much she was changing.
“Everyone involved in this clinic knows what it is like to have a child who is disabled and that was important for me because I want parents to know that whatever they are feeling, they can come here and find someone who knows exactly what they are going through.
“While their child is having a therapy session, Mum can sit down and have a coffee and a chat.
Having been through it myself, I know just how vital that hour can be.”
Alex, right, and the team at Sophia's House
While the treatments, carried out by highly trained and experienced professionals, are not free, Alex insists that she has not gone into this for the profits and has vowed to offer reasonable prices for therapy sessions having seen herself how expensive they can be for families who are already facing so many other pressures.
Rather than offering fixed prices, Alex and her therapists will work with each individual family to work out a programme to best suit their child and work out a cost from there, in the hope of offering a more effective and affordable treatment.
Alex said: “I am not running this business for profit, I am doing it to help families and as long as I can pay the bills and the staff, then we will be here to offer children the treat-ments they deserve.
“I don’t think it is right to ask parents to pay hundreds of pounds for one session, so we will work with families to draw up a programme based on their individual needs.
“Our first aim was to help Sophia, but if we can help other families as well, then that will be brilliant.”