“Never underestimate the abilities of your child" - The Empringham Family's Story
The Empringham family are not only proud AEIOU parents, but devoted advocates for early intervention through their incredible fundraising efforts. The family was responsible for dreaming up the 2017 Coronis Golf Day, which saw $20,000 raised for AEIOU’s Sunshine Coast centre, a cause so close to their hearts. The money was used to install a new cubby house and mud kitchen, purchase additional toys and assist with centre renovations, all of which will benefit families for many years to come.
For us it’s all about the children. We want them to enjoy their time at AEIOU and that means having the right resources to make this happen. Through fundraising we’d like to provide anything that makes them happy and enjoy learning. For us, AEIOU continues to change our own child’s life every day and we cannot speak highly enough of their work.
Our son Caelan started with AEIOU at three-years-old and was non-verbal or toilet-trained. He was still a baby and very sensitive. As his Mummy, I knew exactly what he wanted and needed, but to let strangers handle this five days a week was a big thing for both Caelan and us. Understandably, there were lots of tears at drop off time for about six weeks. I questioned my ability to do this to him. I felt like the worst mother in the world. And then, the switch flipped. The very next day he ran to the gate, down the hall to his classroom and was happy and excited to be there. It was now my time for tears. It was definitely a turning point for us.
At first, we started noticing the little things such as putting his hat on to go outside and storing his lunch in the fridge. It marked the start of some independence, which was thrilling for us. The next big milestone was toilet training. I didn’t know where to start with this task, but the AEIOU staff were professionals and Caelan picked it up so quickly.
But without a doubt, the biggest achievement for us was hearing Caelan’s voice. It was so hard to think you may never hear the words ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’, when all of your friends hear them every day. Humorously, Caelan’s first word was ‘ice cream’, because of course he had his priorities in order! Now his vocabulary just increases all the time. We love that he wants to try and say any word he hears. It has given Caelan such confidence. He’s no longer scared of everyone he meets, is not worried to play around other children, is less frustrated and so eager to learn now he has been shown how. Just the other day he picked up a potato chip and said ‘trapezoid’, because that was the shape. I think we can expect great things from him, but most importantly he is happy and that’s the main thing.
The future is now less daunting for Caelan and our family as a whole. And that’s all because of AEIOU. We moved to the Sunshine Coast to allow Caelan to get the help he needed and we’re so glad we made that decision. We hope other families who receive a diagnosis will give AEIOU a chance. I know it may not work for every child, but it did for ours and we’re forever grateful.
By Toni EmpringhamBack to Stories
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