Sensational Kids is a high impact organisation delivering life changing accessible and affordable early interventions to 4,700+ children of all abilities, in the last 10 years.
Sensational Kids are our Ship to Endless Possibilities
“We were ecstatic after nearly 15 years of marriage that we were to be blessed with our little girl Aisling. Our prayers were answered and our dreams came true we knew we hit the jackpot. When at a routine checkup with the public health nurse with Aisling just 3 ½ were told that she was “delayed” in reaching her milestones and that her ability to speak and to communicate was very compromised. We were referred to the HSE Early Intervention team. We received different therapists views that Aisling’s “speech intelligibility was compromised and is due to a delayed/disorder speech patterns.”
We also found out she had hypertonia and was prone to falling and had frequent accidents. Alarm bells began to ring in our heads and we were out of our depths and needed help – fast…….we were devastated, broken hearted and could not let our little girl fall through the gaps and become another statistic. The thought of her in isolation, not being able to communicate not being able to form relationships made us take action fast! Early intervention was key at such a young age, the brain is so malleable at this age that new synaptic connections and pathways needed to be reformed. For Aisling it was about creating the pathway of the “synaptic to the syntactic” specialised help was key.
We went to Saplings Mullingar and the principal of the special needs school Ursula Smyth helped us by letting us get advice from her behavioural therapist Dr. Katrina Duffy who worked with children with special challenges. This was the day we began to sleep again, when we began to find hope and to do whatever it takes to help our girl become an active participant of this world, communicate her thoughts, tell us her feelings and to find her voice. Dr. Katrina Duffy gave us a checklist of must do’s and advice and met with us in our home and developed action plans to help Aisling and her last piece of wonderful advice was go to “Sensational Kids.”
The HSE Offaly Intervention team were brilliant we went to speech & language and occupational therapy but they could only offer a certain amount of services due to the huge waiting list and we knew we needed specialist intervention fast as early intervention was key in helping Aisling progress and this is how we found ourselves at “Sensational Kids.”
Fast forward to today, our Aisling busily chats in the back seat of the car, pointing out the cows in the fields, she explains why chocolate is very important to her and through the mirror she is watching our reaction to her funny jokes and winks in approval of certain ice-cream privileges. Our profound joy is chatting, giggling and having craic with her. She has friends, goes to pet farms and begs for sleepovers and is a little girl with a busy social life.
We go to “Sensational Kids” every week for speech and occupational therapy and the progress is utterly amazing, we have that warm fuzzy feeling when we go and the abject terror of being told that there is something wrong with your child just does not faze us now. Sensational Kids is our soft place to land, we trust these wonderful therapists with their expertise, humanity and kindness. “Saplings of Mullingar are our emotional compass and Sensational Kids are our ship to endless possibilities.”
The future? What we have learned? We are not hung up on labels anymore , we celebrate Aisling’s progress, can’t does not exist in our vocabulary and this is a truly amazing voyage. Our daughter has taught us how to “conjugate the verb to love,” truly it can navigate in the most challenging terrain, but with a little bit of help from our new friends a little bit of help goes a very long way! It is the collaborative process that produces collective wisdom that has been the key to changing our lives and helping Aisling find her voice.”
Charlie has “high functioning Autism. He also has some sensory issues and he would struggle with some of his fine and gross motor skills, explains Charlie’s mum Michelle. She says “I was waiting over a year and a half trying to get services, whereas I had this immediately. I don’t know where we would have been without it. He has improved immensely, his diagnosis has changed. He’s socialising better. He’s progressing much better in school. He absolutely loves it here.”
“Ryan is one of those kids that goes from 0 to 100, it’s very hard for him to keep calm and to relax”, explains Ryan’s mum Diana. Laura his occupational therapist explains: “Ryan doesn’t get as much feedback from his muscles and joints as you or I, and that’s why he moves around all the time to help himself know where he is and his space. So by giving him certain types of Sensory input, that helps him to calm down and sit and do the activities that we want.” “The difference in him is wonderful to see”, says his mum.
“Thomas is 3 years of age. When he came to Sensational Kids, he was pretty good at letting people know what he wanted, but he wasn’t using his words to do that”, explains his speech and language therapist Elaine “For example, we use Mr. Potato Head which is all about interaction and using his eye contact to make choices and to listen. Hopefully we will get to the point where he is going to use those words independently.” Thomas’s dad says “The benefit Thomas is getting is great, it’s huge. He’s happy. I don’t think the progress could’ve been made without the input of Sensational Kids”.
100 Words and Counting…
“My little son JC was diagnosed with autism just before last Christmas,” explains Laura. “When he first started here in Sensational Kids he had 5 words, but he only used three: ‘Mama, Dada’ and ‘NO’. But mostly, it was just ‘NO’. Before we came here it was tantrums. I’d never understand what he wanted. We came to Sensational Kids and they started working with him using the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) which allowed him to communicate using pictures. He practically flew at it when he realized he could convey not only what he wanted, he could actually express his preferences and choices. It gave him the initiative to communicate. The tantrums went to practically zero. Then the vocabulary started to come.” Today, thanks to Sensational Kids, JC is up to nearly 100 words.
In Their Own Words
“Elaine has a fantastic rapport with my son. He loves going for his appointments. She has tailored a very specific programme for him and sends on great resources to work on at home between appointments. The work and care that she provides for him is second to none. We are delighted with the progress he is making. His social language is really improving which makes his everyday interaction and life skills much easier for him”. (Sorcha Ní Chaoimh, parent)
“I like everything about going to Elaine. I love all the work we do because it is fun. I like playing with the barn and the eggs. She is very nice and funny. I love her”. (Traolach, 6 years old)