Ōrākei grant supports children with Down's syndrome

Publish Date : 06 Aug 2020
Special assistance for children in Orakei
Oscar Smyth benefits from some of the services provided by Upside Downs

UpsideDowns Education Trust applied for an Ōrākei Local Board grant towards delivering speech language therapy to children with Down's syndrome in the Ōrākei area. 

“We already had members in Ōrākei, so we knew some of the parents and support networks, and we had a growing waiting list of children needing our help,”  explained Dr Sarah Paterson-Hamlin, Operations Manager with UpsideDowns Education Trust. 

“Receiving this grant meant we were able to provide individualised speech and language therapy to nine children aged from two to 17 years with Down's syndrome.”

Participants are all at different ages and stages and need different kinds of interventions at different times.

“A very small number of our members are able to do joint sessions which helps save money, and sometimes we run group sessions as part of our outreach programme, but all literature in the speech therapy world supports that individualised speech and language therapy for kids with Down syndrome yields far better results. That’s why receiving grants like this are so important to our programme.

“Speech and language therapy also depends on the dedication of the whānau, because of the amount of work required to reach successful results. 

"Unfortunately for some children, spoken language won’t be possible, in which case the focus shifts to developing NZ Sign Language alongside written language skills so that communication is still possible,” explains Dr Paterson-Hamlin.

Scott Milne, Chair of Ōrākei Local Board, says: “The board will continue its strong focus on grant allocation because we believe that local community groups, that need a funding boost to provide benefits for our community, should be able to apply for assistance. 

"It is such a great way for us to be able to help so many aspects of our community.”

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