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At just four years old, Jack was expelled from preschool.

Four years old. Imagine that…

What could possibly lead to a such a young child being kicked out of preschool?

When we first met Jack, he had an undiagnosed developmental condition which was interfering with every aspect of his young life – how he learned, played, communicated, and lived in his community.

Jack didn’t understand the world around him. He struggled to communicate, even with his family. Despite their efforts to connect, tender, loving moments with his mum and dad were few and far between.

He found it difficult to pay attention and follow instructions. He struggled to get himself dressed and wouldn’t eat the same meals as his family.

At preschool, everything was a battle. The humming of the aircon system, the bright lights, noises like a scraping chair would all upset him. He hated group-time on the mat – children  hopping over him or bumping into him and then sitting too close would set him off.

And he was always getting into trouble.

Play time always ended in fights – whether at school or at home with his siblings – with Jack shouting, kicking or biting. It was this kind of behaviour that got him expelled from preschool at just four years old.

So why is life so hard for Jack?

Jack’s brain and his little body works differently. His nervous system is always in overdrive.

He is constantly reacting to signals from his brain he has no control over. These signals tell him something is a threat – be it a touch or a noise – his brain responds by going into fight or flight, and he just can’t cope.

This is what Jack experiences almost every waking minute, every single day – he is always in fight or flight mode. It’s his normal.

And because Jack is just four years old, he doesn’t yet have the skills or knowledge to deal with how he feels. He hasn’t yet developed awareness and techniques to cope with this constant feeling of being in danger.

So, Jack does what comes naturally – he fights back, he bites. He kicks and he shouts… all the types of behaviour that lead to a child being labelled as ‘naughty’.

At Royal Far West, we know kids like Jack are not ‘naughty’. We know that by providing a diagnosis and a plan for the right services and support, children with even the most complex developmental conditions, can learn, adapt and thrive.

And that’s exactly why the Paediatric Developmental Program exists.

Our team of multi-disciplinary clinicians collaborate with children, their parents and their school to assess and figure out what’s going on for each child.

By unravelling exactly what’s working and not working – emotionally, in their relationships, with their understanding and communication, how their body works and what’s impacting their learning and play, we can really start to build a clear picture of the child and their unique needs.

So often when a child finally receives a diagnosis, we hear from their parents, “Oh my goodness, my poor little boy!”

There is an overwhelming compassion that comes with this new understanding of their child. And often, an immense sense of relief that it’s not their child’s fault – and that it’s not their fault as a parent. Jacks mum Suz recently said,

“You’re not just saving Jack’s life, you’re saving our marriage, our family, our relationship with the school, our friendships and our life in the community.”

But right now, we still have 150 country children on our waiting list.

Children who also deserve to be happy and healthy, and who deserve to thrive and reach their full potential.

Children whose potential you have the power to unlock today.

With your support, country families will have the chance to understand their child and to put the puzzle pieces together and build a clear picture for their child and the future. Please give generously.

* To ensure privacy and confidentiality for our client families, our stories are representative in nature and real names or images are not used.

Please donate today to give more country kids like Jack the chance to thrive and reach their full potential.

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