With your generous support, children like Frank will be able to continue to access critical, life-changing services.
Discovering that your child has additional needs is a challenging time for all parents, but when you’re based in regional South Australia, there’s a whole extra level of complexity involved in accessing critical support to make sure your child has the opportunity to thrive.
Living in the Barossa Valley, this was the reality Sami found herself in soon after her son Frank was born. Sami was instantly thrust into the medical system trying to find answers. Frank is Sami’s third child and even though each child is different Sami noticed that Frank wasn’t developing the same as her other children early on.
“There was just little things to let me know that something wasn’t quite right. At three weeks of age I noticed when I was breastfeeding him that he wasn’t making eye contact. Even though it’s three weeks, they’re tiny, but I knew that they usually try and make that connection,” says Sami.
During this time, when you are supposed to be full of joy and bliss spending days bonding with your new born baby Sami couldn’t help but think the worst. Sami reflects,
“I remember sitting on the couch and I realised that what I was thinking and feeling, it wasn’t in my head. I felt that really maternal innate feeling, I knew something wasn’t right and that my life was about to change. And I just remember feeling just really overwhelmed and that moment of not being able to articulate, but just feeling it in every part of my sense of being that whatever was going to come next or the path that we’re about to go down. I was more than likely going to hear things I’ve never heard before.”
Sami visited her paediatrician who reaffirmed that something wasn’t quite right and they tried to find answers.
“They started doing tests on Frank to find out what was going on. We didn’t know whether there was a problem with his hearing or vision. And then I just remember getting told by a specialist at the hospital that it’s probably one of seven things, but I’m not going to tell you about them because some of them are very sinister, but at this moment in time, let’s call it DVM, delayed visual maturation, and we’ll ride it out for six months”, says Sami.
Sami waited six months as directed by medical professionals and yet there were still no answers. She had so many thoughts running through her head. Would Frank be able to go to school? Would he be able to ride a bike? Who could she turn to for support and advice? That’s when she was introduced to Can:Do 4Kids.
“A member of the Can:Do 4Kids team came to our house and just started to gently help me understand that it wasn’t a scary world, but it was a world that Can:Do 4Kids were experienced in and there to provide support, information, advocacy and that we weren’t alone.” Said Sami.
Meanwhile, Frank was diagnosed with Cortical Visual Impairment and Sami learnt that her baby boy had low-vision. For Sami it was really important that she met another family who has been through something similar.
“Can:Do 4Kids arranged for me to meet a family they support. I was watching the kids play and my children had no idea they were playing with a child who was legally blind. It blew my mind and it was a life altering moment. I knew from that day everything was going to be okay.” Adds Sami.
Can:Do 4Kids have been a critical part of Sami’s village for 6 years now. Frank attends a mainstream school, he loves making people happy and his therapy sessions with Can:Do 4Kids. The journey doesn’t end here, the next big challenge is fast approaching, as Frank gets older he needs to start to advocate for himself and his needs and Can:Do 4Kids will be there to support him every step of the way.
“We know that the Can:Do 4Kids team will be there all the way, to help us and the kids’ teachers with the transition, as well as throughout his school years. I don’t know how we’d cope without their support.”
Can:Do 4Kids helps South Australian families when they need it most, when they don’t have anyone else to turn to and when they can’t find a path forward. With your generous support, more families like Frank and Sami, will be able to continue to access these critical, life-changing support services when they need it most.