When Chay-Lee was 10 months old she became terribly ill with bronchiolitis and pneumonia. She was in hospital for seven days while her little body tried to recover.
During her hospital stay, the doctors had some concerns:
"All she did was lay there in the bed. She didn’t try to get out of bed, she didn’t speak – she didn’t do anything," Chay-Lee’s mum, Tammy explains.
"The doctors asked if that was normal – it was, for her. But they then told me she didn’t seem to be developing like most 10-month-olds should."
After a number of tests, the doctors delivered the heart-breaking news to Tammy. Her beautiful little girl had Global Developmental Delay.
Can you imagine how distressing it must be to hear that your precious 10-month-old baby has a disability?
"I was devastated. I didn’t know what Global Developmental Delay was. I just asked – what do I do?
I started stressing, worrying: Am I a bad mum? Have I done something? Would it be better for my children if I gave them up?" Tammy says.
Sadly, there are far too many families who feel hopeless when their child is diagnosed with disability.
Developmental Delay is a term used when a child is developing skills more slowly than other children in the same age group; Global Developmental Delay is when more than one area of development is affected.
Global Developmental Delay affects cognitive development, as well as motor skills, speech, social and emotional development. It can also mean children living with the condition struggle with daily activities, such as eating and dressing.
The first few years of a child’s life are incredibly important for their development. It is critical that Chay-Lee receives the support she needs now.
Chay-Lee’s parents initially accessed services through the hospital, until last year when they were introduced to Minda.
"I hadn’t heard of Minda. I didn’t realise there were places like Minda that could help.
Chay-Lee loves it there. She does speech pathology, occupational therapy and psychology. She’d be there every day if she could!" Tammy says.
With the therapy she is receiving, Chay-Lee is now able to walk. While we are helping her work on her balance, as she often wobbles and falls over, it is a huge achievement and a relief for Tammy.
"I feel really relieved that we’re actually getting help. I didn’t know how I’d go if she didn’t start walking," Tammy says.
"It was so hard because she just wanted me all the time. I couldn’t leave the room. I couldn’t go anywhere. She would just scream if I left her.
Now that she’s walking, we are trying to teach her to hold hands. She seems sensitive to touch as she hates people touching her hands."
With her Minda psychologist, Chay-Lee is practising how to hold hands and to wait when crossing the road. These are skills that she struggles with, but are important to keep her safe.
"We don’t really go out much, because I stress that she will run away.
When I get her out of the car she makes a run for it. Sometimes we’ll be walking across the road and she will have a tantrum and throw herself on the ground so I’ll have to pick her up and move her to safety," Tammy says.
"I get frustrated, but I don’t show her as I know it’s not her fault. I just don’t know what people watching are going to say or do."
Chay-Lee has also come a long way with her communication since receiving support from Minda.
"She sometimes struggles to understand what someone is saying, but she is talking more frequently and clearly. I didn’t use to be able to understand her at all," Tammy says
While Chay-Lee has made wonderful progress, there is still a way to go.
Being so young, it is hard to know what support Chay-Lee will need in the future. But with help from people who are willing to open their hearts and give generously to support our work at Minda, we can be there for her.
Tammy doesn’t really look too far into Chay-Lee’s future, because she doesn’t know how she is going to develop.
"With Chay-Lee, I’m not sure how her communication will progress and at this stage she doesn’t display any interests." Tammy says.
"I do wonder how she will go at school because she really only wants to spend time with adults, but I hope by then she gets better at socialising.
I’m so glad she’s getting help because I don’t know how I’d cope.
Of course, I try to help her the best I can, but without Minda, I don’t know where I’d be. I’d be lost."
Parents want the best for their children. With a donation to Minda, you can give children like Chay-Lee access to the best specialists, equipment and opportunities to develop their skills and have a meaningful life.
Thank you for your generosity.