Elke – Speech and Occupational Therapy

 In Thank yous

To the Make a Difference Foundation,

We are writing to you to express how grateful we are for your kindness. Your generosity has enabled our daughter Elke to get specific help for her areas of difficulty.

Our daughter Elke was born in June 2010. She contracted enteroviral encephalitis at the age of 4 weeks and was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of two. She suffered general developmental delay but physically had great improvement after she started medication for her epilepsy. Her speech however was severely delayed and speech therapists at her early intervention centre diagnosed this as a delayed speech. it was not until we attended private speech therapy that Elke got a diagnosis of CAS; childhood Apraxia of Speech or what used to be addressed as dyspraxia. This is a neurological speech disorder that affectsthe motor planning of movement sequences required for speech production resulting in errors. In other words Elke knows what she wants to say but is unable to make the correct sequence of movements to produce the correct sound. This is of course very frustrating for Elke and for those around her.

Thanks to the MAD foundation we have been able to have private speech therapy with Marnie Cameron addressing Elke’s very specific speech problems. Elke has responded particularly to PROMPT therapy (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) which is a very hands on treatment form where the child is given tactile feedback and cues on the face neck and torso to get a sense of the movement required for the particular sound. This treatment requires a speech therapist with special training which was not available at the early intervention centre. Elke is now able to say her name, her brother’s name and some colours and she has at times even put 3 or four words together. She will have a go at singing and although the words are not clear you can tell that she enjoys it. We are hoping that with the appropriate therapy Elke will be able to attend a normal school and that she will over time develop functioning speech and not need to resort to an electronic speech device.

Elke has also, thanks to the MAD foundation, been able to see an occupational therapist Robyn Bartram, whom was recommended by the royal Children’s Hospital. Robyn has helped Elke and given us strategies and activities to best help Elke prepare for school.  Our family was in a very stressful situation, knowing what therapies our daughter needed but not being able to access them due to financial stress. The funding system in Australia is only accessible to children with a clear diagnosis, and although Elke suffers from very severe dyspraxia and was close to non-verbal, she falls outside the funding system and no help is available. We will be forever grateful for the kindness of the people at MAD whom have so generously supported Elke without even meeting her. CAS is a disorder that is notoriously difficult to treat and Elke will need help for years to come, but we can see little improvements each week and with that comes a sense of hope.

Thank you!
Yours Sincerely Emma and Dan, Elke’s parents

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