Developing skills for a positive future

By Luisa Bustos, 13 February 2020 , Comments

“When your child has a diagnosis and their brain develops differently, it’s totally out of bounds for you unless you have proper knowledge. Candice was the door for us into our kids’ life. Each and everything she does just adds a missing part to the puzzle in their development.”

Muzammil and his wife are raising four children, including two energetic young boys diagnosed with autism. Ashaz (7) and Aydin (5) access individual and group speech therapy through Northcott. The family connected with Northcott Speech Pathologist, Candice, shortly after receiving the diagnoses.

“It was quite scary in the beginning. We didn’t know what to do, so we went into as early intervention as possible,” says Muzammil.

“While we were on the waiting list for Northcott we tried a few other therapists. Nobody clicked with the kids, but then Candice called back and we have never looked back.”

When Candice first started supporting Ashaz, he had very limited vocabulary, couldn’t concentrate or follow instructions. His parents were worried about how he and his younger brother Aydin, who showed similar behaviours, would fit in with other children. Then they started seeing improvements.

“First, Candice worked on the foundations so she got them to concentrate on topics first. After they started concentrating, she started on their language. Once their language developed, she started to work on their communication. Once their communication developed, she started to develop the specifics, such as turn takings and identifying the five Ws, who, what, where, when and why.”

Muzammil and his wife could see the boys responding positively to Candice, so they decided to record her therapy sessions, re-watch them and follow her examples in other aspects of home life.

“That has really helped us to understand our kids better. Now I am really hopeful that eventually the boys will catch up [to their peers].”

Muzammil is also been happy with the way Candice supports Ashaz and Aydin at school, conducting her therapy sessions in the classroom so that the teachers are also involved. The group sessions, which involve Ashaz, Aydin and their younger sister Adeena, are important for developing the boys’ social skills, flexibility and ability to interact with others.

“Aydina doesn’t have a diagnosis so she is the neutral person in group therapy. Candice uses her as an example. The boys follow in Adeena’s footsteps and are moving more and more towards the mainstream.”

Ashaz loves his sessions with “Miss Candice”. “I do speech therapy. I do activities with Miss Candice, like numbers, the alphabet. I can write a sentence. I can do work. My favourite thing is doing Lego. Miss Candice helps me with…taking turns…and instructions,” he says.

Muzammil is extremely proud of the progress both Ashaz and Aydin are showing: “The credit goes to Candice and their mother. My wife has given 100% to these children. Without Candice and my wife, these boys would not be developing. This is the reason why you seek the support of a professional.”

Related content

Read more stories like this in the Northcott 2018–19 Annual Report.

Ashaz and Aydin’s Northcott Speech Patholgist, Candice also works with older customers, including James. Read about her creative therapy approach for James.


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