Without the care he needs, Lucas could be left behind…for life.
Lucas’s first six months of kindergarten were heartbreaking for his mum Erin. While the other kids quickly found their groove and started making friends, Lucas struggled to communicate with his teacher or classmates. He often became withdrawn in the classroom and seemed overwhelmed by the noise and activity around him.
Erin knew Lucas needed help, but there were no local services and she didn’t know where to turn.
Sadly, this is the reality for many parents of country kids like Lucas. Lucas is an energetic, sparky kid who loves life on the farm. From a young age he was always wanting to help his mum and dad with jobs and spends hours running around with his beloved pet Kelpie, Rocket.
But despite his happy and lively nature, Erin and Steve noticed Lucas’s language skills were developing much slower than those of his older siblings. Reassured by friends and family that “all kids are different”, they brushed off their worries.
As Lucas grew older, his communication skills didn’t progress significantly, and Erin and Steve’s concerns resurfaced.
Lucas had never attended preschool – it just wasn’t possible due to the long drive into town – and with ‘big school’ approaching, they wanted to find out what was causing his difficulties.
The family’s GP suggested a hearing test as a first option, and he was put on a waiting list. With limited services available locally, they were warned that this could take many months. It wasn’t until Lucas started kindergarten that the extent of his challenges became apparent.
Like too many kids living in rural and remote Australia, Lucas was unable to access vital healthcare, simply because of where he lives. By making a donation today, you can provide country kids like Lucas the vital developmental healthcare they need to thrive now, and for the rest of their lives.
Lucas’s language skills were noticeably weaker than the other kids and some of them teased him about the way he pronounced his words. His teacher saw him struggling to understand simple instructions, and his ability to retain and process information was well below the average for his age. As the term wore on, Lucas became progressively more withdrawn.
Erin and Steve knew they needed to find answers quickly, otherwise Lucas would soon fall behind. But the lack of local services, combined with their limited finances, meant finding these answers was not going to be easy.
It is critical for children like Lucas to receive the developmental support they need in order to progress in school and build vital life skills.
Lucas’s kindergarten teacher arranged for him to access Speech Pathology sessions via our Telecare for Kids program, and worked with clinician Kate to improve his basic storytelling skills. Helping a child develop their ability to talk about characters, feelings and settings can often have a big impact on their confidence and performance in the classroom.
Lucas made some progress over those two terms, but it was clear that Speech Pathology alone was not going to address all his needs. There was much more going on and Kate felt he needed a comprehensive assessment of his developmental health to build a full picture of his needs. Without this help, Lucas will likely fall further and further behind at school.
The comprehensive assessment Lucas needs requires multiple paediatric clinicians who specialise in different health disciplines. Lucas’s family live too far away from these services, and simply cannot afford the very expensive fees and overnight trips involved in accessing these appointments as a private client.
Thanks to the generosity of wonderful people like you, Lucas has recently been referred to our Paediatric Developmental Program.
It’s a huge relief for Erin to know that Lucas will get the specialist care he needs, but there are other country kids just like him who are still at risk of falling behind.
Through your generosity, these children are able to access expert help from our multi-disciplinary team of clinicians, in one week-long visit, all under one roof.