Small steps make a world of difference

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Tayla with her speech pathologist, Heidi.
Camera IconTayla with her speech pathologist, Heidi. Credit: Therapy Focus.

As parents we always want the best for our kids, but how do you give them the best when life’s given them a rough start?

When Joanne’s five-year-old daughter Tayla presented with developmental delays and challenging behaviours, Joanne was at a loss of what to do.

“Tayla wasn’t speaking, struggled with social skills and was only eating a very small variety of foods,” Joanne said.

She had challenging behaviour and a lot of tantrums, as she was so frustrated by not being able to communicate her wants and needs.

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With these symptoms front of mind, Joanne decided to have Tayla assessed for autism, which officially resulted in a diagnosis earlier this year.

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects, among other things, the way an individual relates to his or her environment and their interaction with other people.

The main things to look out for are social communication and interaction difficulties, and restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests.

With the diagnosis finally confirmed, Joanne selected Therapy Focus to help Tayla with her speech and occupational therapy.

11 months on, both Joanne and Tayla are over the moon with her progress, as is Therapy Focus South-West speech pathologist Heidi Jupp.

“Many people with autism have difficulty initiating and keeping relationships,” Heidi said.

“Tayla and I work on her social skills in many ways. For example, we often role play using puppets to practice talking to peers and introducing herself.”

As well as working with Heidi, Tayla also works one-on-one with occupational therapist Rebekah Wallace, who is teaching her strategies to cope better at school and self-regulate her emotions.

With less than a year of therapy behind her, Joanne said she had already seen a huge improvement in Tayla.

She’s able to communicate with me so much more now,

she said.

“As well as telling me her wants and needs, she can talk to me about what she’s been doing at school. These might seem like smalls things, but for our family it’s made a world of difference.”

For more information on how Therapy Focus may be able to help your child learn key skills and achieve their developmental milestones, visit the website www.therapyfocus.org.au.

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