Manning & Great Lakes

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Sam's Story – A testimonial by Jocelyn Duckett.

Without the aid, compassion, generosity, unconditional love for their job and the children, guidance and unending support of the staff at EI Tuncurry/Taree –special mention of Sally Gibson and Jess Williams – I know that I could not have coped much longer.

I am the sole parent and carer of my son Sam who was born with severe, life-long heart problems who is alive due to numerous and ongoing surgeries until one day –not knowing when –his heart won’t work anymore and we will need to look at other options.

Sam was late in development i.e. speech, walking etc, and then started showing signs of odd behaviour e.g. flapping, staring, lining up objects, obsession with numbers and counting, trains, repetitiveness, not listening (I thought at the time). All tests showed excellent hearing. As Sam was so young, it was difficult to tell if this was due to an isolated life away from other children due to risk of illness and lots of time in hospitals. And of course I blamed myself and couldn’t work out what I was doing wrong. Lots of tears at night.

I was made aware of EI through our Paediatrician who raved about this service and thought they might be able to help even though Sam was undiagnosed with a learning disability and he fell through the cracks of available funding and services.

We were welcomed with open arms, given access to speech and OT therapies, education and links to services in the area I had no idea about. When Sam was diagnosed with autism, I finally had financial help which the amazing staff helped guide me to use in the most efficient and practical ways for us.

When Sam’s condition deteriorated, our needs were catered for. We have always felt supported and loved and safe.

With the amazing tools and guidance provided for us from the staff at EI, we incorporate into everyday life and are reaping the rewards. Sam is now thriving in the Support Unit at Forster Primary School.

The service of EI is essential and has changed and enriched our lives.

The women of this service have gone above and beyond for us and our quality and enjoyment of life continues to accelerate.

I will forever be in their debt.

With unending gratitude and total sincerity,

Jocelyn Duckett

Website photography by Momentology Photography

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