When Noah was only little, he was diagnosed with autism, a lifelong developmental disorder, which affects how his brain processes information.
“Noah had been hitting all his milestones along with his twin sister, until he was about 12 months old. And then it was like we lost him,” Noah’s mum, Kate, says. “He suddenly didn’t want to be around us, he stopped talking and went vacant.”
Imagine the devastation, to see your happy, engaging little boy, who you have so much hope for, suddenly disengage. The helplessness you might feel, losing the person you’ve come to know over the first year of his life - it must have been heart breaking.
Noah is 11 years old. He is non-verbal and needs constant supervision – he is reliant on his family for everything. Unable to communicate, he makes noises to express heightened emotions like excitement or fear. He wears nappies and struggles to sleep through the night. Noah also doesn’t understand safety, which is dangerous when he wants to explore and runs out of sight.
“Noah doesn’t really have any friends. He doesn’t go to parties or get asked on play dates, and I understand why, but I feel sad for him,” says Kate. “I just hope that Noah can lead a happy, fulfilled life like the rest of us and isn’t destined to a life of loneliness and boredom. I couldn’t bear that.”
I’m sure you understand that a world without friendship is a lonely one. Made even more difficult for a child who is unable to communicate.
I think you're reading this because you want to make a difference in children’s lives. Honestly, I need your help. With a donation to Minda, you can help a child like Noah access local, high quality support that will help him to have a happier and more meaningful future.
Noah’s family find it incredibly stressful leaving the house together. And because of his behaviours, it is often impractical and unsafe to do so. Visiting friends and going on family outings often means someone has to stay at home with Noah. The physical and emotional toll of his 24 hour care is exhausting for Noah’s whole family. We knew we needed to help them.
With your help, we can support Noah and his family to live a happier and less stressful life. Fortunately we have been able to provide Noah with a team of support workers who spend time with him two on one and help Noah by taking him out and getting him used to coping in various situations.
“Noah has two support workers that come and take him out. I don’t want him to just be babysat – he’s got these new friends now, that’s how I see them. They are so kind and understanding of him. They don’t bat an eyelid at his behaviours. He has gone to inflatable world, play cafes, Henley Beach, playgrounds; he is getting all these experiences, whereas before he would’ve just stayed home with me,” Kate says. “Kids his age often play with their friends and don’t hang out with their parents all day. He never really got that. But now, he is going out with his friends and having a ball.”
A huge difference can be made in someone’s life when they receive the support they need. I hope you know how important you are - we can’t do this without you. The over and above care we provide, care that children like Noah deserve, can only happen with help from our supporters. That’s why I’m asking that you give a gift today. Your donation will help us continue reaching out to families in need.
“I knew that we needed support, not just to enhance Noah’s life but also to give time to our other children. It’s their childhood too,” Kate says. “Now, when one of our children has sport or a presentation night, they can have both their parents there. One of us doesn’t have to stay home with Noah, because we know that he is off having fun, doing something he wants to do. It’s important to be able to do things like that.”
As you can see, not only can you help Noah to safely experience life and friendship, but you can give his brother and sisters the chance to spend some time with their parents and enjoy special occasions. Fortunately, thanks to our supporters, Noah and his family have started receiving help that is changing all of their lives. But it can’t stop here. Noah’s future is uncertain. And his parents worry about what his life will look like into adulthood - especially when they are no longer around.
“I worry that Noah will never be able to be on his own. That he’ll never be able to live independently. I worry about who’s going to look after him when I’m gone. It is life changing to know that support is available to us and it gives us some hope for the future. I would love for him to stay with us as long as he can, but he gets stronger every day, so it’s going to get trickier. One day we might need a supported home for Noah and I hope that if that time comes, Minda will be able to provide that for him,” Kate says.
Together, we can make sure that we can be there for Noah throughout his life. If you believe in opportunities for people with disability as much as I do, please consider a donation that will help provide high quality services across South Australia. Your donation can make an incredible difference.
Autism can look very different and varies in severity. You and I know that children with autism deserve the same chances in life as any other child. With the right support, they can achieve their goals and live happily. Understandably, Kate worries that some people don’t see that.
“These kids are extremely smart, valuable and deserving of every opportunity, just like everybody else. It can be hard but there is a lot of beauty as well. And the beauty is easier to see when you have support.”
Families like Noah’s shouldn’t have to go unsupported. Sadly, there are too many families right now who are barely coping, without local support to help them get by. Will you act now and make a contribution to support people with disability and their families? By donating today, I can guarantee you will be helping change lives.
“Now that we are receiving support I feel so much more confident. There are people to help us. We’re not alone,” Kate says.
Every gift we receive makes a vital impact to the work we do, helping people with disability access high quality support, learning new skills, live and have fun. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a supporter of people with disability helping us to reach out to families like Noah’s. I hope that together, we can make sure Noah and his family never feel alone.