Thursday, January 19, 2012

The story of Malachi.

Being the mother of a toddler which can be challenging enough in itself, I find myself wondering how parents of children with special needs manage to stay so positive and strong. I have a friend with a three year old son, who has Autism. She manages to keep a brave face, remain calm and speaks about her experience in a positive light.

I thought I would share with you her story, The Story of Malachi. 

" I was overjoyed the day Malachi was born, it was one of the happiest days of my life. He was a happy baby and completely healthy. He was born a little earlier than I'd like, a little yellow but soon enough he was just a normal baby. A close friend had a little boy the same age so for the first year they grew up together before we decided to move.

When Malachi turned one I started to notice his speech wasn't were it should have been at all, however I decided not to worry I'd take him to see the health nurse. I visited our local health nurse and she barely even looked at him! She said to give it a year or two then we'd do something about it. I decided that that was just not good enough for me. I rang St. Giles (A provider of children's therapy services) and asked if I could please be put on the waiting list for a speech therapist. In my mind his speech was his only problem. After being on the waiting list for a year we finally got the call we'd been waiting for; SPEECH THERAPY TIME! Also around this time I noticed that Malachi was not a very social baby when it came to other children. For this reason I decided to put him in family day care so that there weren't many children and after a while his family day care career got concerned.

After 6 months of speech therapy we went back for a usual session. The therapist seemed nervous... She sat me down and told me that Malachi had made very little progress and believed he had some symptoms of Autism. I thought very little of it. Then he was refereed to see a occupational therapist and a teacher. Both when they met him had concerns. More time went on and in some areas he showed no signs of improvement. We then were referred to see a pediatrician who said he was on the Autism spectrum and that we need to get into the Autism assessment team as soon as possible. Before we can do that Malachi needs to have blood and urine samples to make sure that he hasn't got any genetic disorders before they make their final verdict on his condition. They all believe he is mildly Autistic.

This year Malachi starts pre-kinder so his therapy will become more intense and he'll be starting on a programme hat teaches him how to use visuals to communicate with me, called the PECS programme. So he can communicate to me without frustration which causes alot of tantrums when he can't explain what he wants or needs. We have been granted funding to get a private specialist. In Malachis case early intervention will help him be ready for the future.

Every time I meet someone new I get asked a million and one questions. The thing I struggle with the most is taking Malachi to a playground and watching as he tries to play with other children. The other children ignore him because he can't communicate. It hurts that my nearly 3 year old has to deal with that. My personal advice would be if the professionals don't take your concerns seriously, don't give up. If I had not had this feeling and stuck with it we wouldn't be able to have early intervention. My advice would be follow your heart. If you know that something is wrong with your child or you have fears don't seek just one opinion but see two or three people to make sure ."

These links may be helpful if you suspect your child has difficulties or are concerned at all about their development. Early intervention and incredible support networks can often help parents deal with the challenges of raising a child with special needs.

St Giles 
PECS programme
Autism Tasmania


  1. We have had therapy with St giles too. My daughter was born with a dislocated hip that wasn't picked up till she was 6 months old. They were great in helping her devlope her skills properly. Where would we be without these great organisations? The great thing is, you are not alone, in your situation or in getting help.

    1. How long did she go for? It was all free as well? We are very lucky to have it available to us!