Our son Max is now 13 and he is doing so well at Kedron State High School. His reading, writing, spelling and maths have improved significantly and he has confidently transitioned into high school. His social skills have improved out of sight. He hugs us and his sister Lara, he smiles and laughs, he plays sports and invites his friends and ours around for dinner.
Yet 10 years ago, Max’s language stopped developing and he became hyper sensitive to many things around him, like loud sounds, bright lights and being touched. When his screaming episodes started and his behaviour became more and more extreme, our family was in crisis.
Everything changed and many of our dreams and expectations of what our family life would be like were lost.
We became isolated from our community, losing our ability to leave the house, to go to playgroup, to go to the supermarket, to visit friends, to have play dates, and to have any sense of peace in our home.
We started living in a world of survival and found ourselves in a place of such despair. We asked ourselves: what was Max’s life going to be like? What about his sister Lara? What about us? What’s going to happen to our family?
We moved from diagnosis to diagnosis, from Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), to Selective Mutism, to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), to Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and finally to Pervasive Developmental Delay Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
Through all this, we realised Max had a significant learning and perceptual disability.
In the midst of all this chaos, we dared to dream a new dream for all of us.
In our new dream, we wanted to start the day without an hour of screaming, we wanted to leave the house without being scared of what might happen, we wanted to go to McDonalds, we wanted Lara to be able to have friends over and we really wanted Max to be able to have a birthday party.
More than anything we wanted our family to stay together.
We realised though we couldn’t achieve this dream without creating a specific family road map to deal with the complex neurological issues we were facing. We would need far more than a cookie cutter solution for Max and for us.
It was this vision, our family plan, that gave us the power to stay afloat each time we were sucked into that whirlpool of sheer emotional overwhelm.
We’ve been lucky to have met some truly incredible people who’ve guided and supported us and without them, we definitely wouldn’t have survived as a family. They’ve helped us learn how important it is to deal with issues quickly and that early intervention is essential for our children to reach their potential.
With all this in mind, we created the GingerCloud Foundation.
GingerCloud Foundation will:
- Empower, engage and equip parents whose children have learning and perceptual disabilities to take ownership of their child’s developmental pathway.
- Help families build their own roadmap to enable their children to grow, access opportunities and become everything they can be.
- Provide the tools, questions and lists of potential specialists families will partner with as they step out to take the first steps in their journey to help their children reach their full potential in life.
We will reach out to families just like ours in their darkest hour, when all hope seems gone and when each minute is as unpredictable as the next.
At GingerCloud, we believe that everyone together will create a community in which our children and our families can grow and thrive.
- Max’s parents and GingerCloud’s Founding Directors, Megan and Anthony Elliott