Subject: Progress Report on Jack
Wanted to give you a report on the amazing progress that Jack is making because of Lions Clubs! So thankful and happy that you were able to respond to our request for help because we really felt helpless at the time and you were the only person who did that and we really did not know where to turn!! The fact that Parramatta Lions Club then made this a project and so many different clubs, The Follow Your Dream Foundation and especially the Australian Lions Foundation contributed to Jack’s early intervention (even Arthurs Vale Club on Norfolk Island!) really restored our faith in humanity and made us realise there are still good people in the world who care.
Lions Clubs has given Jack a much brighter future and I would be happy if you could distribute this to some of the clubs that were able to help so they know they’ve made a lifelong difference for our little man. We are forever grateful to Lions (and you personally for all the time you’ve taken to get to know our family and to raise awareness for these causes) and we hold Lions Clubs in the highest esteem. Nothing but respect!
It was such a confusing time when we did contact Lions because Jack was in such a difficult place, he could not eat on his own without starting to choke, could not drink from a cup of water without inhaling it, he would have terrible self harming meltdowns (most likely because of frustration in not being able to communicate) and he would run into traffic because he had no understanding at all of danger. He was terribly isolated because we just couldn’t take him out as we were scared he would be killed.
We were practically having a breakdown because we could not get him to go to sleep and it was really taking it’s toll on our family and we were exhausted and literally did not know what to do. If I was going to work in the morning he would not even acknowledge I was talking to him. Eye contact did not happen and we just could not get him to respond at all.
Jack has made incredible progress since starting early intervention at Footprints and he’s just a much happier little guy all around!!
Just since the beginning of the year (and since commencing this autism specific early intervention at Footprints) Jack has learned to do the following things:
- pointing or following an adults finger that is pointing to something
- drinking from a cup on his own
- saying many words and he has also started to ask for things! You can see in video below where he is saying “want iceblock” 😊
- waving and saying hello and goodbye
- Jack’s eye contact has gone through the roof! He will actually try and force you to give him eye contact if you’re not doing it.
- Remember when you last visited our place and he said “bye Elvio”!!! That would never have happened before!
- starting to understand concepts of danger / hot / cold
- he asks for cuddles and will stand directly in front of us, put his arms up, look us in the eye and say “cuddle”
- he has learned to draw circles and straight lines (a big deal because he could not do this at all – only scribble)
- He is nearly pedaling his tricycle on his own (getting closer by the day)
- he can climb up the little ladder to the trampoline (this was quite dangerous before)
- understanding emotions, he will say “I’m sad” or “happy now”, a really big deal.
- He says “love you” as a response when we say to him and “sweet dreams” and sings little songs. He is also counting!
We still have a long way to go but the videos below show just how far we’ve come because of the help Lions Clubs so kindly gave us!
I guess the hardest thing for us is knowing there are just so many families in the same place we were when we contacted Lions. Trying to pay it forward a bit by forming an online community https://www.facebook.com/AussieAutismParents/ for other parents in the same situation. Still very aware that this treatment is completely inaccessible for countless families.
Nothing but respect for Lions though! We really did not understand what an amazing organisation it was until you explained it to us Elvio and hopefully one day we will be more involved.
It really is impossible to put into words just how much Lions Club has positively impacted our family (and our family’s future). You have made Jack’s future bright and full of possibilities 😊