The Cooke Family – Occupational Therapy
Laura and Clint Cooke are in their early thirties and have six children under the age of fourteen. Their children are three sets of twins!
The middle set of twins, who are now 11-years-old, are Max and Jonathan. Max has velocardiofacial syndrome, 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, in 2014 and 2015, which helped pay for the boys to have occupational therapy, speech therapy, art therapy, and drama therapy.
‘MAD has been an exceptional charity to work with,’ says Max and Jon’s occupational therapist, Debbie Isaac. ‘They have allowed us to allocate funds as we saw fit – government grants are often so tied up in administrative processes that money can’t easily be directed where it is needed. With MAD, we had the flexibility to tailor treatments for the boys, and the results have been fantastic.’
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. 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.
Max is now reading and finds maths much easier; Jon has improved his self-confidence and mood control. Both boys have formed strong bonds with Debbie and their other therapists.
‘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 says, ‘we are forever grateful for the help and care provided by the MAD Foundation to our family.’