Introducing Tom

Toms story

We’re delighted to share with you Tom’s Story!

You may recognise Tom from a heartwarming BBC video that went viral of him enjoying a Makaton bed time story in his Activity Chair by Rifton.

Didn’t catch the video? Scroll down to watch!

Tom has undiagnosed, complex medical issues including cardiac, respiratory, scoliosis, hyper mobility, delayed development and profound deafness. During the first 14 months of his life, Tom spent 11 months in hospital. During this time, Tom underwent 14 surgeries including open heart, tracheotomy and jaw distraction.

His turbulent start to life meant his development was severely delayed, and despite lots of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy work by both therapists and at home, by the time Tom was 2, he was unable to sit unaided. During this time, Tom’s family were told they were unsure if he would ever be able to sit or walk or have any level of mobility.


Early intervention was required by use of introducing a range of postural support equipment such as, standing frames, gait trainers and supportive seating systems.

The introduction of the support equipment helped provide Tom the support he needed to gain confidence and be motivated to build his strength and stamina. Once he realised how much more of the world he could access, he began to work harder and feel the benefits.

The Activity Chair by Rifton helps provide support to allow Tom to participate in a range of activities. The chair keeps him safe and stops him tiring so easily.


It has always been recommended to get Tom up and moving to move the mucus and help clear things so brought when Tom went into hospital with a respiratory infection, they took his Activity Chair in to help with his nebuilisers.


Laura McCartney, Tom’s Mum, believes ‘the key to a well child is as much emotional and is it physical – “Tom taking joy in being able to participate, to laugh and explore sensory activities, is just as important as the physical benefits to his body.”

The Activity Chair gives Tom feedback which helps give him the sensory stimulation he needs to stay clam if he is agitated or over excited.


Visit The Makaton Charity webite to learn more about Makaton. 


Why choose Jiraffe

Hello. We are Jiraffe. Read all about us, our mission in life and why we do what we do here.

How to buy

There are various ways to buy from the Jiraffe range, depending on the type of product. Find out how to buy our products here

Get in touch

We’re always looking for enthusiastic children, young people, therapists and parents to tell us what they want and how we can improve. Why not send us your story, thoughts, ideas ? Just email us at