Family Story – The Butlers
Noah and Zachary burst into this world 6 weeks early, and since that day, we have not stepped off the rollercoaster that is our life. The boys were both diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at 18 months old. Joel and I were sure there was something different about our kids. We were constantly told that not only do boys talk later in life, but twin boys can talk even later. We were told that they were just busy little boys and not to worry, that they most likely just had severe speech delays. We both knew that to get Noah and Zachary the help they needed, we would need to start down a road that no parent would ever want to walk down.
Nothing really changed the day we found out the boys had a formal diagnosis. We knew who they were, and we loved every tiny piece of them. One thing was now different; doors were being opened for us into a very special community full of love and support.
Our lives are challenging and chaotic, but every little, tiny achievement is celebrated by us and celebrated by the whole community. It is very humbling to be a part of that.
What services have you accessed at the Fit Kidz Foundation?
We started with the Fit Kidz Foundation ‘Mini Group’ in 2018, followed by weekly in-home Speech and Occupational Therapy sessions with therapists from the Foundation. In 2019 the boys began the 2 Day Early Intervention Group Program. During lockdown, we continued to access Speech and Occupational Therapy via telehealth. The 2 Day Group Program was also moved online. My husband Joel and I also accessed parent workshops and catch-ups with the team online. Towards the end of lockdown, we were lucky enough to access a respite program put together by the Foundation for families who were in desperate need of a break.
As a full-time carer and mum, I have enjoyed the parent workshops and being part of the Fit Kidz Foundation Fundraising Committee has helped me make some amazing lifelong friends.
How have the Fit Kidz Foundation Services impacted your sons and your family?
We would have been lost if we had not found the Fit Kidz Foundation. When we were told what therapies the boys needed, our Psychologist told us that we would be driving all over Sydney for two different children who have such different needs. We were overwhelmed and thought this was logistically impossible. The Fit Kidz Foundation offered us a safe place we could send our babies and provided in-home therapy sessions so that the boys could feel comfortable in their own space. The Foundation also supports Joel and I as parents. Team Noah and Team Zachary are well-oiled machines, and the therapists keep in touch with other services the boys are accessing, so we are all working towards the same goals. They also give us honest and constructive feedback on how we can continue to support the boys.
What are your hopes and dreams for Noah and Zachary?
We hope that our babies can grow up in a world that accepts them for who they are, supports them and takes care of them.
Happiness is our number one goal. Where the future takes us, I don’t know, but as long as we can find happiness together, our dreams will come true.
The Fit Kidz Foundation relies heavily on fundraising efforts and events each year to make the programs financially accessible to families. It is important that our Foundation community engage in our fundraising efforts to ensure we are able to continue to offer and expand our services from year to year.
The support of our community will assist us to provide programs that support children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or Developmental Disability to reach their potential.
Early Intervention is crucial in ensuring children meet their developmental potential. However, the costs associated with high quality Early Intervention can be difficult for families. Supporting the Fit Kidz Foundation will ensure local families are able to access vital, quality, Early Intervention services for their child.
- Group Program fundraising initiatives (e.g. Art Gallery)
- Ladies Night
- Golf Day
- Spring Ball
- Fit Kidz Centre Events (e.g., Colour Run, Movie Night)