Xavier communicates a bit differently to most kids his age.
After many failed newborn hearing screening tests, Xavier’s parents noticed that at 18 months old, he still wasn’t responding to verbal cues, which concerned his mother Jess.
“We realised that when we called his name, Xavier wouldn’t respond, that was when we knew that there was something wrong.”
Xavier was taken to the specialists where it was discovered that he had permanent bilateral hearing loss – a hearing loss present in both ears – which was moderate to severe.
This was not the diagnosis that Xavier’s family had hoped for, but they immediately took action. Xavier was fitted with hearing aids a few months later, before he was 2 years old. Although they helped with Xavier’s hearing, Jess noticed that Xavier was still struggling to verbally communicate and would get frustrated when people did not understand him.
“Xavier would often drag people around to try and show what he wanted and get angry and upset when he couldn’t express himself”. Jess then turned to Can:Do 4Kids for help.
“We came to Can:Do 4Kids because we liked the idea of the Speech Therapist and Occupational Therapist being able to work together.”
Can:Do 4Kids therapists Grace and Adriana noticed some signs that Xavier’s development might need further consideration, and supported Jess through the process of further assessments. It was discovered that Xavier also had Autism Spectrum Disorder and this, paired with Xavier’s bilateral hearing loss, meant that he found it much harder than most to communicate his feelings.
Xavier would try to communicate using visual cues but was getting increasingly frustrated when his intended meaning was lost. It was then Can:Do 4Kids Speech Therapists introduced Xavier to an Alternative Augumentive Communication called the PODD book. The Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD) system is a way
of organising a word and symbol vocabulary in a systematic way – a communication book designed to assist with more effective communicate and understanding.
With the help of his Can:Do 4Kids therapists, Xavier now uses the PODD book as his ‘voice’. He keeps his book with him at all times (it was designed in a smaller format and uses waterproof and tear proof paper for this very purpose).
Using his ‘voice’ Xavier is learning fast and is now able to put five symbols together to create a lengthy message - something that has put a huge smile on his mum’s face.
“Xavier is now able to tell us what he is thinking and feeling using the visuals in the PODD book. It has helped with his frustration and improved his speech significantly.”
An active little boy who loves being outside, jumping, and getting his hands dirty, Xavier is now preparing to make the move from kindergarten to school. Jess knows that with the help of the PODD book and Can:Do 4Kids, Xavier will only continue to improve his speech and start school just like any other little boy.
“Can:Do 4Kids has helped a lot with classroom strategies and how Xavier can communicate and interact with
other kids. We can’t wait to start school.”
Jess encourages any parent who is concerned about their child’s development to be persistent.
“Keep asking questions. Keep asking people. Keep going - there is support out there and Can:Do 4Kids can help.”
Can:Do 4Kids was there for Jess and Xavier to ensure that he achieves the most out of life. To ensure we can continue to help all children like Xavier, we need your help.