PLAYING AROUND: Jaxon with his mum Lynette, his favourite learning facilitator.
PLAYING AROUND: Jaxon with his mum Lynette, his favourite learning facilitator. Rhylea Millar

AEIOU putting the letters in speech for autistic kids

JAXON is a normal four-year old boy. He loves watching Paw Patrol, building Lego masterpieces and playing with cars.

Prior to celebrating his fourth birthday, Jaxon's Mum, Lynette noticed his growing frustrations over unsuccessful attempts at communicating and expressing himself.

"He's so intelligent - he knew the full alphabet for ages, but he just had trouble saying it,” Ms Phillips said. "All the tests took a few months and he was officially diagnosed with autism last September.”

Autism spectrum is a condition that affects social and communication skills, with statistics revealing that one in seventy people are diagnosed.

Experts note that early intervention can assist a child in developing fundamental skills and improve the overall quality of life, something that the AEIOU Foundation aims to achieve.

Although Ms Phillips is a mother of four, she reveals that with Jaxon, it felt as though she was studying the parenting rulebook all over again. Fuelled by love, Ms Phillips tried a range of options, all of which were unsuccessful, until she enrolled Jaxon in AEIOU.

"We wanted to do everything we could to help him,” Ms Phillips said. "AEIOU are all play-based, so he doesn't realise he's learning and it's not a big, scary office.

AEIOU hosted an Open Day at their new Bundaberg community centre on Monday, as they plan to expand the specialty childcare to cater for 24 children, a huge increase from their current 12 capacity.

Typical childcare centres have a ratio of one learning facilitator to eleven children, whilst AEIOU devote their attention by placing one to two facilititators with two to three children.

Centre Manager, Amanda Rogers believes the success rate is due to the curriculum and rather than teaching children about speech and sound, they aim to educate basic life skills, that will prepare them for Prep or Grade one.

"We use goal-setting as a way to keep a routine, take away the stress and just to educate the kids on how to sit down at the table for dinner or brush their teeth,” Ms Rogers said. "Interacting with peers is a big thing, especially when starting school, so we teach them how to regulate emotions, how to react when someone says no and join or exit a game appropriately.”

Prior to Jaxon's enrolment, his vocabulary consisted of 30 words, he was petrified of crowds and he had major food aversions. Fast forward to the present day - Jaxon follows a daily routine and engages well with children at the centre and his big brother's school.

Ms Phillips fully advocates the special work that the 'profit-for-purpose' organisation does for children and families and is excited to see Jaxon's progress continue.

"It's been so wonderful to see the progress Jaxon has made in such a short amount of time,” Ms Phillips said. "The ladies are so lovely and they really know what they are doing.

It's been really lifechanging for him, but for us as well.”



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