Vicki and Jaida’s Story
“Trust yourself, and ensure you get assistance immediately when you think there may be an issue. Don’t let time pass by if you have any doubts. You may initially think ‘once she gets older she will be fine’ or ‘she will grow out of it’, or get told that ‘this is just normal development’, but you need to be the advocate for your child. It will be life changing for them, as speech delay can cause so many developmental problems to occur in your child.”
To celebrate our 50th year anniversary, Telethon Speech & Hearing (TSH) will be showcasing 50 stories of people who have been a part of our organisation’s history since 1967.
Today’s highlighted story is from Vicki Foote. Vicki’s daughter Jaida currently attends our Talkabout program for specialised speech and language support.
Q: When did you start having concerns about Jaida’s speech/language?
V: Jaida has been receiving therapy since she was 14 months old. This includes speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and more. The major part of her challenges since this time relate to her speech delay. Jaida has an older sister (Jorja) and a twin brother (Jarrah), so although people say to not compare your child against others, it was quite clear that Jaida’s speech was very delayed in comparison to her brother and sister. She also had some other developmental challenges which were not improving, predominantly due to her lack of speech.
Q: What made you come to Telethon Speech & Hearing (TSH)?
V: In June 2016, when Jaida had just turned 3 years old, it was recommended by her speech therapist to apply to TSH for a place in the Talkabout 3 program. She was accepted mid-year, and we have been forever grateful for the opportunity.
Q: What was your first experience at TSH like?
V: Our first experience at TSH was amazing. Jaida’s playgroup teacher made us feel so welcome, and the other mums/dads and TSH kids helped us learn the routine. Jaida was very shy for a few weeks, but came out of her shell quite quickly due to the care and nurturing of the teacher, assistant teacher, the Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist. Jaida felt safe and comfortable to enable her to relax and reap the benefits of the program, and I felt confident that she was learning and progressing really well.
The services that TSH offer are critical to Jaida’s future. It is amazing to have occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychology all in one place. This makes our child feel confident and happy, while we know that she is getting the best therapy that she can receive.
Q: What are some milestones that Jaida and your family have achieved at TSH?
V: TSH is building on Jaida’s ‘word bank’ to enable her to effectively communicate with her family and friends and to have the confidence to engage with people. She constantly amazes us with how she has improved in her storage of words. She now speaks up quite loudly and comes out with some wonderful phrases, which puts a smile on those she is talking to (especially if they have known her for a while as they have seen her prior challenges).
In addition, Jaida has had a reluctance to interact with both adults and children. She will always be a girl that enjoys her own space, but we see that she is able to make friends and have fun with others. This is because she is finally starting to talk to people and engage with them. She still struggles to keep up with fast paced play at mainstream kindy, but this will come in time.
We also wanted Jaida to reach some gross and fine motor skills, as she had a reluctance to adventure away from her comfort zone. She used to be sceptical of anything new or challenging, repetitively doing her own little things without anyone near her. But we find she is learning how to manage different situations and we are also learning how to support her.
Q: What are your hopes for Jaida’s future?
V: Our hopes are simple and just like every other parent – we hope she meets some good friends, does her best at school and sport, and is happy and healthy. Long term, we hope that her speech doesn’t hold her back from anything she desires. Although we are conscious that Jaida will have many challenges still ahead of her, we know that TSH is giving her the skills to reach her own future goals.
Q: What would your message be to anyone that has concerns with their child’s hearing or speech?
V: Trust yourself, and ensure you get assistance immediately when you think there may be an issue. Don’t let time pass by if you have any doubts. You may initially think ‘once she gets older she will be fine’ or ‘she will grow out of it’, or get told that ‘this is just normal development’, but you need to be the advocate for your child. Your child needs you to give them direction and find the right pathway to help them achieve their goals. It will be life changing for them, as speech delay can cause so many developmental problems to occur in your child. Once we found out about TSH, we were shocked at the amount of assistance that our child has received. TSH has given her the foundations to confidently start mainstream school, with friends by her side.
Siblings Jarrah, Jorja and Jaida.
About Vicki and Jaida
Vicki’s daughter Jaida currently attends our specialised speech and language program called Talkabout.
Recommended by a speech therapist to apply for a place in TSH’s Talkabout 3 program, Jaida was accepted mid-year into our program at three years of age.
Jaida has made great progress with her speech and language, and gained a place in TSH’s Talkabout 4 Kindy program this year. Jaida’s parents hope to enrol her into the Talkabout 5 Pre-primary program next year.