Marcus And Khaleesi's Story
Thanks to the generosity of our kind supporters, we are able to help families like Shaun and Marika’s so that they don’t have to go through the challenges that can often come with having a child on the autism spectrum, alone.
When five year old Marcus was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, his parents, Shaun and Marika were lost. They felt isolated from the rest of the world and no one seemed to understand what they were going through.
Like a lot of children on the spectrum, Marcus was very sensitive to lights and sounds and would get anxious very easily in unfamiliar places. He was also non-verbal and didn’t want to mix socially with other people.
Shaun and Marika found they couldn’t go anywhere with him because of his sensory issues, so they barely left the house. This was all happening at a time when the family needed to meet people the most, as they had moved to Australia from overseas and didn’t have any support networks to turn to.
They had no relief, no respite and nowhere to go for help – until they got in touch with Aspect.
“It was like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders when Marcus started working with Aspect occupational therapist, Eliza. We were finally getting him the help he needed and we were no longer alone on our journey” Shaun says.
Within six months of working with Aspect, Shaun and Marika had seen a huge change in their little boy. They found they could go anywhere and do anything with him. He no longer had problems sleeping and his sensory issues weren’t affecting him nearly as much anymore.
Eliza introduced the family to a variety of techniques to incorporate into their lives, including placing visual aids around the house, to help Marcus learn and understand daily tasks more.
The specialist therapy that Marcus received from Aspect helped him develop the skills to cope with everyday life – including building a routine, going to new places, starting at school. It also equips parents with the confidence and knowledge to help their child reach their full potential.
Eliza has seen such an incredible difference in Marcus since she started working with him, she explains: “Marcus has done so well with his communication. He used to be completely non-verbal, but now he can ask for help and articulate what he wants, using pictures – and even some words. Then there’s his playful streak. He often comes up to me, gives me a big hug and tries to start a game. Or he just cracks up laughing. Marcus is no longer so cut off from the world.”
Shaun and Marika had finally come to terms with what life would be like for both themselves and Marcus, when their second child, a bubbly three year old girl called Khaleesi, started showing signs of being on the spectrum too.
“We spotted it early with Khaleesi because we knew what to look for,” explains Shaun. “Her speech was delayed, and she didn’t interact socially. Then she started doing things repetitively and obsessively. That’s when we knew we had a special little girl on our hands.”
This time around though, it was different. They knew what to expect and how best to help their daughter. They immediately got in touch with Aspect and Khaleesi was fortunate enough to start getting specialised help straight away.
“We’ve been so lucky to get the support we needed for both our children. Every family deserves the same, but not every family is so fortunate. I know how difficult it is, when you’re forced to cope alone. Sitting with Marcus for hours every day not making progress, versus receiving therapy with Khaleesi from day one – I don’t need to tell you which journey is better!” Shaun says.
Marcus absolutely loves technology and it is definitely one of his big strengths. Khaleesi is the complete opposite and loves animals and music. They both used to struggle going to new places and doing simple, everyday tasks that most families would take for granted, like going to the park or going to the shops. But thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to provide them both with the specialised help that they need. Marcus is now doing really well at his Aspect school and Khaleesi will hopefully join him there when she is old enough.
Shaun and Marika don’t limit them at all as they know they can do anything, considering the amount they’ve achieved so far. Both children have come such a long way, and Shaun and Marika continuously celebrate all the small wins.
“The second Marcus walked through the gate at his Aspect school, I felt like we were home, and he was home. I can’t express what the organisation means to us” Shaun says.
Thanks to our incredible supporters, we were able to help Shaun and Marika at a time where they had no one else. Now, they have the peace of mind that their two children will have the support that they need throughout their life, for as long as they need.
With your support, more families will have the opportunity to celebrate the little wins and not feel so alone after an autism diagnosis. Thank you for helping them through their journey so they don’t have to cope alone.