“My name is Kylie and my husband and I have three children. We have lived in Warwick for two years and before that in a small rural town with one school and one day care centre. My story begins, not unlike many other families I have spoken to over the years, but thanks to the BUSHkids Program in Warwick I can stand here and tell you how my family has changed for the better.
My son Ayden is 11 years old and 15 months ago was diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum as well as an earlier diagnosis of ADHD. When Ayden was 9 months he decided that he was not going to crawl and got up and walked. At that moment I thought something was different with this little man. By 18months Ayden showed some developmental delays but nothing significant. Ayden’s differences were more in the way he socialised, ate and the terrible meltdowns. His behaviour was becoming very extreme to the point where I was getting called away from work to attend the daycare centre so regularly that I had to resign and work at the Centre with him. Over the next three years we saw GPs, play therapists, participated in parenting programs, naturopaths, specialists, read books, tried diets and stood on our heads if it made a difference to his development and our family life. The financial drain, isolation from friends and family and the stress was taking its toll.
We couldn’t understand why Ayden was so different to our first born when everywhere we turned either said he’d be fine or it was a parenting issue. Ayden had become an experiment and we as a family was broken.
My husband was transferred to Warwick and it was our new school who suggested we contact Bush Children’s service after spending a term with Ayden. We kept hearing the same thing… your son is kind, gentle but is having some social and learning issues however the boy I was being sent home was like Jekyll and Hyde. He was violent, withdrawn, erratic and then on the other hand so cuddly, adventurous and inquisitive. We were over our heads. From my very first conversation with Linda I felt for the first time I was not a number, I was listened to. I know that sounds simple but to a parent who has been fighting the system for years and who loves their child but simply does not know where to turn, this compassion meant the world to me. Due to high demand we were put on the waiting list.
The value of having a service where you have such a variety of services, under one roof and where everyone talks freely with each other as well as having a great rapport with our school made our decision to change paediatricians and start afresh with all reports for Ayden a possibility. It was through this action that we received a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Finally everything was making sense, our sons jigsaw puzzle was coming together. Bush Children’s then supported us through a parenting program specialising in special needs children, Ayden was able to access their programs to help him improve his social skills and ability to mainstream and they worked with our school to formulate Ayden’s IEP.
ASD affects the family as a whole and through Bush Children’s our oldest son has participated in a siblings program to help him to understand why Ayden does some of the things he does. As parents we have always spoken about why we cannot do things, or why we are driving 2 hours for a 15min apt but to hear it from someone else and to see other children in his situation was invaluable. Leaning has always been a huge issue with all his teachers and tutors struggling to understand how he learns. Rebecca has recently unlocked his learning pattern and already we have seen massive changes to his learning. Ayden can now make the most of this school years which has opened up a range of options for his future without him being a burden on society.
This wonderful service has changed our lives. As parents all we wanted was for our son to be happy, have a career, and have a family, which he now has the opportunity to have it all. As a mother, they have given me back my family.”
BUSHkids key to their work is a focus on health access and prevention or early intervention for regional and remote children who are experiencing some behavioural, emotional, social and/or developmental difficulties. Parent support and development programs are also a core component of our services.
BUSHkids is a non-Government, not for profit community organisation which offers a range of free allied health services to children and families living in rural Queensland, such as Bundaberg, Dalby, Emerald, Inglewood, Mount Isa and Warwick. Here multi-disciplinary teams, comprising of a Psychologist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and Family Health Support Worker, provide therapy services to children and their families.
To promote the health and well-being of children and families BUSHkids:
- Provide high quality, cost effective health services at centres located in identified regions throughout Queensland
- Provide a skilled team of professionals comprising of Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Family Health Support Workers.
- Provide a range of early intervention services which address the ongoing physical, psychological and developmental wellbeing of children who live in rural and remote areas of Queensland.
- Develop programs and services focused on imparting information to families so that they are better able to understand and meet the needs of their children during their formative years.
- Develop innovative approaches to health services delivery including new programs to meet the health needs of indigenous children.
BUSHkids is now celebrating their 80th year of service and in 2015 has already provided 5000 support programs, which is an astonishing achievement. In fact, by the end of 2015 they estimate that they will have supported more than 42,000 children in their first 80 years of service.
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