Mia is 10. In many ways she is like all other little girls - desperate to learn, play and make friends. She is full of fun, kind, funny and helpful, but she is also frustrated, friendless - trapped in a world in which she cannot speak to anyone or fully understand what people say. Mia has a Specific Speech and Language Impairment, Verbal Dyspraxia and suspected Auditory Processing Disorder. She cannot learn language in that incredible ‘soak up like a sponge’ way that most kids do. She needs to be taught to speak, intensively.
At 3 years old Mia couldn’t make any speech like sounds at all. Now she can try to copy words we say, and produce a lot of sounds. She is intelligent and keen to learn and communicate. Therapists say she has enormous potential and with the right therapy she can go on to have a fairly normal life.
But the therapy Mia needs is not available from schools or the NHS – we have had to find the money for it for ourselves so far. Mia needs specific and intensive treatment, and she needs it now, while she's still at an age where she will get the most benefit.
Speech therapy costs £50-70 per hour and Mia needs up to five sessions per week. This will help her to develop speech, improve her ability to understand and use language, and use a communication aid to communicate until clear speech is achieved. How overjoyed I would be to see her talking to friends. It breaks my heart to see her approach children but experience such a huge communication barrier.
Mia’s speech and language difficulties have led to a host of behavioural problems. Most children can communicate their needs and desires well, but Mia's inability to do this leads her to try and exercise control in other areas – her environment, other children, and her parents! This makes making learning skills and enjoying the usual tasks that other children participate in very difficult for her - all the fun stuff like making things, games, painting. We have had assessments with a behavioural therapist to help us eliminate these challenging behaviours and ready Mia for more therapy. Some of our fund raising will help to fund this behavioural support to her therapy and learning.
All money raised goes to Tree of Hope Children's Charity and our named therapy practices invoice Tree of Hope Childrens' Charity direct.
Please help us to give Mia a voice before it is too late.
‘It is particularly important that a child with verbal dyspraxia receives speech and language therapy delivered by a therapist with relevant experience. Children with severe verbal dyspraxia may require intensive levels of therapy in order to make progress.’
Afasic (www.afasicengland.org.uk), a support group for parents of children with speech and language difficulties.
Visit our website www.avoiceformia.org.uk