A mother who never gave up hope
Darren was born blind and over three months premature. He was later diagnosed with Autism. “The early years were extremely difficult,” recalls Darren’s mother, Trudy. “If I took him for a walk in the stroller he would scream the whole time. But I never quit.”
Due to his Autism, it took 30 years before Darren started to speak his first words. Trudy recalls the lack of supports that were available to her in the earlier years of his life. “No one could advise me in the earlier years, where to go, who to see,” she said.
A few years ago, Trudy discovered The Benevolent Society. Today, we support Darren through Behaviour Support services and a holistic approach to help him meet his goals. “Behaviour Support is really around collaboration,” explains Monica Cachia, Darren’s Behaviour Support Practitioner. “We work with a multi-disciplinary team of allied health workers, that can include speech pathologists, occupational therapists and psychologists who compliment the supports that we offer. Our approach is person centered, because ultimately that’s what our clients will respond to.”
Remarkable progress and giant leaps forward
The routine support and guidance Darren continues to receive has helped him learn and progress. “I do believe he has learned to verbalise more,” says Trudy. “I can say a word like, ‘manner’s,’ and he’ll say ‘thank you’.”
It’s not just Trudy who sees the change in Darren. Monica sees it too. “Overtime I have seen Darren progress remarkably,” says Monica.” “He is more readily available for support as well.”
Planning for a future with greater independence
So, what’s next for Darren? Monica, Trudy, Darren and the rest of his support team have a plan to help Darren meet his goals. “It’s really important that when we set goals at the start of the service that we’re reviewing them on an ongoing basis,” explains Monica.
“One of Darren’s goals this year is to continue building on his independent living skills. I’ll be working closely with his Occupational Therapist and his Speech Therapist to make sure that he develops the right communication skills and to make sure that he is able to be more independent with the activities of daily living.”
Trudy understands how important it is for Darren to be more independent. For Darren to be able to independently express himself and his needs is the “best achievement” Trudy could hope for.
The Benevolent Society offers Disability Supports in New South Wales, ACT, South Australia and Queensland.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or someone you care for, head to benevolent.org.au/disability-services