Becoming part of the Royal Far West family has profoundly improved the lives of eight-year-old Dylan Lamont, his parents Janet and Michael, and his older sisters Emma and Lizzie.’
Dylan was very young when Janet and Michael became concerned at his behavioural and anger issues. Janet explains, “At preschool, Dylan was getting into trouble, and other parents were saying ‘he’s such a naughty kid’, without realising that something else was going on.”
Residing in Coleambally in remote NSW, the family found it difficult to locate a nearby pediatrician, and when they did, they were told the first available appointment was in eight months’ time. When they saw a doctor, they were offered a $2,000 test for autism, which would only give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ result, with no further information or support.
Fortunately the doctor suggested that the family apply to Royal Far West, and from their very first visit three years ago, Janet and Michael knew they were in the right place for Dylan.
Michael explains, “When we first came here, we walked away with information about Dylan, and we also walked away knowing more about what we could do to help him”. Janet continues, “During our five-day stay we couldn’t believe the support, especially through meeting other families. There are only 600 people in our town, so to meet other families in the same boat was great.”
Diagnosed with ADHD, sensory processing difficulties and anxiety, at each visit to Royal Far West, Dylan sees a range of clinicians including a Psychologist and Occupational Therapist, and treatment concentrates on Dylan ‘having a voice’ so that he is comfortable talking about his feelings and expressing himself so that others can understand him.
Dylan happily discusses his therapy with us: “I get to identify calm colours and angry colours so I can better express when I am feeling angry. When I get in an angry rage, I find it hard to control my body, but I am learning how to do that now.”
Janet and Michael appreciate the integrated approach of Royal Far West. “You have everyone under one roof, and they are all talking to each other, really trying to work out what’s best for your child. It’s amazing. Families need far more support than just being told your child needs medication,” says Janet.
Michael explains how Royal Far West’s approach includes the whole family. “As parents, we are receiving assurances that we are doing the right things at home, and that it’s part of a plan, and when we need support we are welcome to talk with the social worker.”
The most dynamic improvement for Dylan is at school. Janet explains, “Royal Far West played a critical part in Dylan accessing a teacher’s aide. Royal Far West clinicians video conference with our school, providing support. They are the experts, so we feel the school really listens to them. It helps the whole school community, as the teachers are learning techniques that are helpful for other kids. I’m sure there are lots of kids who go undiagnosed who might benefit from having teachers with more skills in communicating with them.”
Home life has also magically transformed. Dylan’s vastly improved behaviour has enabled the family to enjoy many more activities, from walking down the street and going shopping, to Dylan having fun at friends’ birthday parties.