Meet the Barton Family, Cobar

 “There’s lots of activities the whole family can get involved in. It’s an outlet for a bit of a break. I would absolutely recommend Royal Far West to other families” Sally, Mum.

Being able to understand and to be understood is something most of us take for granted. But not the Barton Family.

For the past four years, they’ve been able to access Royal Far West’s specialist healthcare and therapy for their now 9 year old son Archie. At 4 years of age, Archie was diagnosed with a form of Autism; a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way he relates to his environment and to other people, including his family.

For children who live in the city, help from doctors and specialists is close by. But not for Archie. He lives in Cobar, a town in Central Western New South Wales over 700 km from Sydney and 400km from Broken Hill. There are limited local medical services but these look after people in an area roughly two-thirds the size of Tasmania.
Archie has also since been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); a common behavioral disorder that sees children hyperactive, often unable to sit still and have significant trouble focusing. This often results in an impaired ability to function socially, in the classroom, and at home.

The good news is that with proper treatment from our clinicians, Archie is learning to successfully live with and manage his disability. During Archie’s visits to Manly he sees a speech pathologist who has been trained to assess and treat country children like Archie who have a communication disability. Working one on one Archie’s speech, writing, reading, signs, symbols and gestures have all progressed. With lots of support from mum Sally and sisters Eva and Zoe the family has learnt to adjust by using shorter sentences and a lot of visuals to communicate with Archie.

Twice a year Archie comes to Manly where he has access to over 40 clinicians to help him. When not attending various health appointments under one roof, Archie and his sisters attend the Royal Far West school ensuring they do not miss out on their studies. All of this can be quite overwhelming which is why Drummond House; a home away from home located onsite providing meals and a supportive environment tries to ensure there is time for the family to support one another, and just be kids. It also gives Archie’s mum Sally the opportunity to talk to other parents with children with similar conditions.

Sally knows it’s been a very long process, working with various specialists and also Archie’s local teachers, but she sees them as a team all working together for one successful outcome.

Because RFW values the privacy of our clients and their families, we have changed the names of the people in this case study.