Laura and Clint Cooke are parents of three sets of twins, ranging from teenage to Grade 1.

The middle set of twins, who are now 12-years-old, are Max and Jonathan. Max has Velo cardio facial syndrome or 22Q Deletion, which means he is non-verbal and has several physical impediments and developmental delays. Jon has apraxia of speech and significant confidence problems, which has hindered his progress at school.

The Cooke family received two rounds of funding from the MAD Foundation in 2014 and 2015, which helped fund a program that was tailored for the specific needs of the boys. The boys’ program included cooking – which helps to expand vocabulary, practise reading and mathematics, and develops fine motor skills. Drama classes have also been part of the program, which develop confidence and therefore assist with making friends. The boys’ occupational therapist Debbie has visited Max at school on many occasions, in order to integrate their therapies into day-to-day classroom life, in collaboration with their teachers.

The results have been fantastic. Max is now reading and finds maths much easier; Jon has improved his self-confidence and mood control. ‘The funding from MAD hasn’t just given this family access to services that otherwise would have been out of reach’ says Debbie, ‘it has given them hope. That’s what MAD does, it empowers people in difficult circumstances and lifts their spirits when they see improvements happening.’

Laura and Clint Cooke attended the MAD Foundation Ball in 2015, and had a fantastic night. Laura held the room captive as she spoke of her experiences at the 2017 ball and in 2018 agreed to become a beneficiary ambassador of the MAD Foundation. Laura says, ‘we are forever grateful for the help and care provided by the MAD Foundation to our family. I love being involved with such a great organisation and am proud to be on board as an ambassador.’

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