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“You changed my family”: heartfelt thanks for Kirwan’s Child Development Service

Published:  15 October 2021

There is nothing stronger than the gut instinct of a mother concerned about her child; for Amanda Trotter, it was her second-born, a son called Ashton, who she knew needed help.

Amanda said she had voiced concerns about Ashton’s developmental delays to friends and family to no avail; however, she soon realised she had to seek professional support.

“It was New Year’s Eve, Ashton was nine months old and I went to bed and cried myself to sleep because I knew there was something really wrong,” Amanda said.

“Despite being nine months old he wouldn’t sit up unassisted, he wouldn’t engage with me or smile back very often.

“It was like having a Baby Born doll; he was super cute but I wasn’t getting much back and that was heartbreaking because I spent every day with him.

“When I talked to people they said boys were different to girls or that he’d catch up in his own time but I just had this gut feeling that something was wrong.”

Amanda, who was on maternity leave at the time, had known about Kirwan Health Campus’s Child Development Service (CDS) through her job so made a referral and started the process.

“The moment I walked through that door to see the team I just started crying,” Amanda said.

“I was so relieved; I had an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a speech pathologist in the room who completed an assessment with Ashton and gave me educated responses as to why he wasn’t meeting certain milestones.

“Suddenly I had this reassurance that it wasn’t just me who had seen this and it wasn’t something that I was doing wrong.”

Ashton was diagnosed with global development delay, which occurs when a child shows delays in several areas of development over a sustained period.

“As CDS is predominantly an assessment-only clinic, the team helped me to link in with an early childhood early intervention access partner who helped me access funding for therapy supports,” Amanda said.

“My son who army crawled at his first birthday, showed no affection and barely babbled is now super affectionate, can ride a bike and never stops talking – it is just amazing.

“I’m so grateful to the entire team – you changed my family.”

CDS occupational therapist Janelle Kent said their service covered a range of specialties.

“A parent might come to CDS because they’re worried about their child’s walking, lack of speech, behaviour or lack of social or self-care skills, so a range of developmental concerns,” Janelle said.

“We have occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, social work and our service is for kids who have two or more areas of concern.

“So a child may need a combination of assessments such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy or speech therapy and occupational therapy assessments.”

 Janelle said that referral was easy and parents didn’t need to head to the GP to get in to the service.

“We see kids from zero to eight for developmental assessments and anyone can refer a child to us; parents can even self-refer their child,” Janelle said.

“We also have an outreach team that does occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy to Ayr, Charters Towers, Richmond, Hughenden and Ingham so no one misses out.

“Our assessments look like play, so children often don’t want to leave.”

Janelle said support didn’t end at the end of the assessment.

“Once we spend time with a child and their family for assessment, we offer a feedback appointment to share what we have found,” Janelle said.

“This helps the parent navigate the correct path they need to take to help their child get support and progress.”

Janelle said early intervention was key when it came to developmental delays.

“We do know that early intervention can make a big difference to your child’s developing brain,” Janelle said.

“We value the information that families already have about their child and listen to everything they have to say.

“We want to help people understand their little person, their strengths and the things that are tricky to help put them on the path so early intervention can work its magic.”

The Child Development Service can be contacted on 4433 9000.

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