For children living with autism, receiving the right kind of support gives them the opportunity to learn the skills they need to achieve and succeed in life.
Western Australian disability service provider Autism Alliance, provides many children with the support they need, through a range of services including speech pathology, occupational therapy, social skills groups and parent/carer training.
For Kai, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 2014, finding the right service provider has been “good news” according to his father Ben.
Ben explains that they worked with almost every service provider in Perth, until they eventually found Autism Alliance.
“Having Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy with Autism Alliance has made a big difference to Kai’s everyday life,” Ben says.
“The therapy service is always conducted with great care for Kai’s special needs in both short-term and long-term goals.”
The right fit
Autism Alliance is also supporting George and Melissa’s son Jet as a part of his early intervention for autism.
It took a lot of time and effort understanding their options and looking for the best provider for their son, before Melissa found the right support for her son at Autism Alliance.
“Once we received Jet’s diagnosis, we started researching and visiting several different therapy providers in the Perth area.
“We were looking at three other therapy providers but they weren’t a good fit for Jet. Frustrated, I joined several WA Facebook Special Needs Parenting groups, and there is where I heard about Autism Alliance.”
Jet’s parents say their son has grown in confidence through having the right support, and they couldn’t be more thankful.
“During his time (with Autism Alliance), our son has developed into a much more communicative, capable and confident little boy.
“At the time of diagnosis, Jet was non-verbal and obviously struggled with communicating his needs to us. Now he talks and won’t stop talking.”
Autism Alliance has also helped Jet with his sensory sensitivities – some he has outgrown over the years and some are still a work in progress, his mum adds.
Unique skill set
Heather Ioppolo, Director of Autism Alliance, says that when it comes to meeting a child or adult with a diagnosis of ASD, there is often a saying of “once you’ve met someone with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”.
She adds that at Autism Alliance, they make sure each child’s unique skill set and challenges are embraced.
“It is imperative that we as a community learn how to support these young children and individuals involved in the care of ASD so that we are able to treat each person with ASD with equity and respect, as we would to any other member of the community,” Heather says.
Autism Alliance offers a number of different therapies to make sure that children are given the best opportunity to succeed; one of these supports is Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) therapy. ABA therapy involves teaching skills like communication, self-care and play skills in a systematic manner.
A huge difference
George and Melissa were quickly able to see the benefits of not only ABA therapy but also the other supports offered by Autism Alliance, like occupational therapy and speech therapy.
“Attending ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and Social Skills Groups at Autism Alliance on a weekly basis has made a huge difference in how quickly we have been able to see improvement in the areas that are challenging for our son,” they say.
“Heather has done an outstanding job as our son’s ABA therapist. We find our son so much more compliant, engaged and social and really appreciate the encouraging, respectful and tailored way Heather teaches.
“Siobhan has also done an excellent job as our son’s occupational therapist. She has helped out son to overcome several sensory challenges and improved our son’s fine and gross motor skills using fun activities.”
Autism Alliance has also been able to offer Jet the opportunity to develop social skills and friendships, and Melissa and George are both looking forward to seeing their son grow even further with the support of Autism Alliance.
“Social Skills Groups and School Holiday Programs have also been a wonderful, confident booster for our son. It is so lovely to see him conversing with his peers and therapists in these sessions whilst having so much fun in a positive, safe and supportive environment.”
“Above all, though, what we like the most about Autism Alliance is that our child is never treated as ‘just a number’; All staff take much care, dedication and detail in providing their services.”
Melissa says that, for Jet, the future is bright and that the family is constantly learning.
“We’re learning, adapting and improving each day as an ASD family and we have such a happy and positive outlook for Jet’s future.
“There is so much hope that Jet will be able to achieve whatever he wants to in life and that is exciting!”