Therapy: Danny Farrell and his father William, leading Meg on her favorite pony Chloe, around the family farm near Bombala. Photo: Kath Farrell.Rett syndrome is a rare neuro-developmental condition that mainly occurs in females, but can occur rarely in males.

Infants and children with the condition typically develop normally until about six to 18 months of age, when they begin to lose previously acquired skills, such as purposeful hand movements and the ability to communicate.

Kath and Danny Farrell’s daughter, Meg, will be 16 years old in December, and she has suffered from the disability from age two.

“Meg learnt to speak, hold a spoon etc. at the normal age but began to lose skill between two and threeyears of age,but we started to notice things were different when she was about six,” Mrs Farrell said.

Mrs Farrell said Meg was initially diagnosed with autism at four yearsbut her ongoing loss of her natural skills was followed by the rettsyndrome diagnosis at seven years of age.

“There was growth interruption, and further loss of skills . . .she became non-verbal and lost the use of her hands,” she said.

Mrs Farrell said Meg is a big and solid girl, and she has become quite stiff, like other girls who suffer rett syndrome.

“We try to keep her as mobile as we possibly can,” Mrs Farrell said.

“I think I am thankful every day, we have the lifestyle to give her to assist every way with her therapy.”

Kath and Danny Farrell are in partnership with Danny’s parents, William and Jan, in a property on which 250 breeders are grazed, and although each has a full-time job off-farm, they dedicate every weekend to working stock on the farm, and involving Meg.

“The farm is what we use for Meg’s therapy,” Mrs Farrell said.

“We notice she is very happy and engaged and extremelyobservant around all our farm activities, but particularly she has an affinity with cattle work.”

Mrs Farrell went further and said her daughter was most at ease when riding a horse, because it gives her great pleasure a sense of independence and raises her self-confidence.

Mr Farrell also made the comment . . .“Because our cattle are handled a lot, the core herd are very used to her presence, and that also gives her a great sense of self-confidence.

“It is important to have Meg lead as normal life as possible, we want to keep her out of a wheelchair, ” hesaid.

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