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Feb 01, 2024

Aahan is learning more than words

News Speech Therapy

Sapana was keen to participate in More Than Words, a training program for parents of children with autism, as a way to gain new skills for Aahan.

“I thought it might help me to use new strategies with Aahan and improve how I communicate with him in daily life,” Sapana says.

Having completed the program in June, Sapana says her experience was nothing but positive.

“Before, I felt like I was walking on the road without direction. Now I know the direction towards our goals. The course helped me to have more patience and know how to deal with my kids in so many ways.”

What is More Than Words

More Than Words is an evidence-based speech pathology program developed by The Hanen Centre. It is delivered by Northcott speech pathologists who have received specialised training and certification from The Hanen Centre.

The training focuses on developing the skills of parents of children with autism or social communication difficulties, teaching them communication and interaction strategies that can be used in the home and everyday routines and activities with their child.

The program includes small group sessions and individual consultations. Via video recordings, participants are also observed interacting with their child.

Positive outcomes for all

Sapana has noticed some big changes in Aahan, as a result of using strategies she learnt during the program.

The most important thing I learnt was waiting and how to be patient. Because of that, I think Aahan is now able to go to the toilet. I waited and I didn’t force him. This is a very big thing. We are really proud of him.

Sapana, Aahan’s Parent

“We are also interacting more with him. Nowadays Aahan doesn’t stay alone in his room; he comes to be with us and tries to play with his younger brother. When our relatives come to the home, he likes to be involved with them and play with them. He is more social now.”

Sapana also says she benefitted from hearing from the other parents.

“I liked being with the other parents. We learnt so many things from each other through the online classes. I found it very effective.”

Thank you to the Profield Foundation

Northcott was able to offer the More Than Words program to Sapana and other parents at no cost, thanks to funding from the Profield Foundation. This meant parents didn’t have to pay out-of-pocket for the training – or use a portion of their child’s NDIS therapy funding.

“Families with limited NDIS funding could participate without it impacting on access to other therapies, such as one-on-one occupational therapy or speech pathology sessions or other speech pathology goals such as communication device trials,” explains Sarah Ruming, a Hanen accredited Northcott Speech Pathologist and one of the facilitators of the program.

“We find families are more willing to try an intensive program like More Than Words if it doesn’t impact their other therapy funding. For some, there is a perceived ‘risk’ in committing to a short program that takes a large portion of their funding, at the expense of other therapies, or that they are not sure will ‘work’ for them and their child.”

Families accessing Northcott Speech Pathology services across the state were able to via a telepractice format, which allowed our Hanen-accredited therapists to reach more families.

Northcott is grateful to the Profield Foundation for their ongoing support. Their funding ensures more families are benefitting from vital therapy programs, such as More Than Words, which complement tailored one-on-one therapy.

Speech Therapy

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