“At first, Tessa was very difficult to understand and would get frustrated when other children and educators didn't know what she was saying.” - Centre Director, KU Children’s Services
Ensuring all children experience a good start in their early education years is at the heart of our fundraising efforts at KU Marcia Burgess Foundation and why together we can support children like Tessa*.
Four-year-old Tessa was displaying difficulty with language and speech development. Her speech was increasingly difficult for those around her to understand.
The frustration and despair only increased for young Tessa. She wanted to be involved but became more and more isolated in her play and from other children.
Tessa desperately needed professional allied health support. However, the out-of-pocket expenses were beyond what her family could afford, and the waiting lists to access community health services were extremely lengthy.
Through donations, KU Marcia Burgess Foundation was able to provide financial support, which was critical to enable Tessa to undertake an initial speech and language assessment through the KU Allied Health program.
Unfortunately, Tessa did not meet the eligibility requirements to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Early Childhood Supports for six months of recommended intensive therapy.
Experiencing financial difficulties, her family was once again faced with an inability to pay. To help improve Tessa's speech and language skills, KU Marcia Burgess Foundation has assisted with the costs of these sessions.
Sadly, many families facing financial hardship delay assessments and withdraw their children from therapy, which significantly impacts on schooling years and life outcomes.
As Tessa looks forward to starting school next year, KU’s Allied Health team have developed a variety of strategies to support her speech, language, and communication skills. They have also given Tessa’s family and her early educators tools to implement through play and her daily routines.
Tessa’s parents are sincerely grateful for the support and relieved with the progress their daughter has made.
“We would not have been able to access these services otherwise. We have been trying since 2021 but the waiting lists and costs of services had prevented us from supporting her speech and language development.
She is more confident in herself, and people have commented on how much more they are able to understand her. She is having more conversations and is making friends. It’s such a relief to know she is getting support now and before starting school next year.”
Her educators have also noticed a huge improvement in her language since starting speech therapy. She now takes her time in her speech, and her words are much clearer to understand.
“We’ve seen a huge change in her confidence, she is more socially involved with other children and making connections. This newfound confidence is opening opportunities for her to practice and use her language skills in play with others.”
Tessa’s educators are working with the family and the KU Allied Health team to access a hearing assessment and have introduced key word signs in her home, at preschool and during speech therapy sessions. This is not only supporting Tessa but also her peers.
We’re able to see first-hand how children, like Tessa, can thrive with the right support around them.
This Christmas, your support will help children like Tessa who have additional needs to access vital health assessments and allied health services at an early age. It will also help other programs that KU Marcia Burgess Foundation fundraises for to strengthen children’s opportunity to succeed now and into the future.
*Name and images have been altered to protect privacy.