Specialised therapy changes life of young girl and her family
Ali Foster’s four-year-old daughter Emma is a different little girl than she was seven months ago.
Emma began attending AEIOU Townsville, a specialised early childhood centre that provides intervention for young children with autism, in September 2017.
Ms Foster said since relocating to Townsville from Brisbane at the beginning of 2017 and enrolling Emma in AEIOU, her family’s life has changed.
“Within the first few months, she was like a different little girl,” she said.
“She was learning to communicate, her aggression and frustration levels dropped like crazy.”
Ms Foster said having regular therapy in a constant environment changed the way Emma responded.
“Instead of going to all these appointments at other places, everything is there and she’s got the same teachers and peer group every day,” she said.
“I thought, ‘oh my gosh, this place is like magic’.”
Emma was first diagnosed with autism at age three, just before the birth of her now one-year-old sister Mia.
Despite about one in 25 Townsville children being diagnosed with autism, Ms Foster said there is still a lack of acceptance of the disorder.
“I know that autism awareness has been in the public eye for ten years or so, but it’s the acceptance, that’s what we really need,” she said.
“We still get filthy looks at the grocery store.
“Emma’s autism doesn’t look like what you’d picture. Her autism looks like bad parenting. She’s constantly trying to run away, she’s yelling or making noise, but for her it’s a communication block and social things she doesn’t understand.”
Ms Foster said regardless of the struggles, the improvements AEIOU is just the start of the family making the most of their lives.
“So many doors have opened for us,” she said.
“This has given us our dreams back for Emma.”
Ms Foster encouraged any parent of a young child with autism to visit AEIOU Townsville’s upcoming open day.
“The teachers and carers there are amazing, everyone there signs up to work with special needs kids,” she said.
“They’ve given us our family back.”
AEIOU Townsville’s open day on May 16 will include tours of the centre, meeting autism specific educators and therapists and a free workshop.
To register or to find out more, visit http://aeiou.org.au/open-days or contact the centre directly 4773 2898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org