Tiny Tots is one of the programmes provided by SunnyKids, it allows children and their Mums a space once a week where they can interact and play together away from the pressures of recent crisis, safety and housing challenges. Sometimes in the midst of crisis the moment by moment connections between kids and their parents can be overlooked and as a result a gap in development can be unwittingly forged. Tiny Tots aims to bridge that gap.
Recently, we worked with a family with several school aged children and two pre-school aged children. Mum, “Lisa” and her two youngest boys, “Josh” aged 4 and “Lauchlan” aged 2, attended a Tiny Tots session and the boys experienced using paint and paper for the very first time! In that relaxed environment, Lisa was able to be present with each child and quickly became enthusiastic and delighted to enjoy the experience with her boys.
Josh, who is on the autistic spectrum has had limited verbal skills that Mum reported would “come and go.” Discussion was flowing freely between parents and kids and to Josh’s Mum’s surprise Josh became involved in the discussions! The Tiny Tots environment had provided Josh the space and trust required for him to verbalise his experiences as he saw them. It was truly an amazing moment and each week, the family continues to engage enthusiastically and Josh continues to strengthen his verbal skills when given the chance.
This family has been linked in with some valuable community services including engagement with a child psychologist through Headspace for Lisa’s daughters, aged 10 and 7. Mackenzie Day Care of Oz have tailored a program to cater for low functioning autism diagnosis and Josh is receiving 12 weeks fee free service via our advocacy with Centrelink. He has also had a full paediatric review fast tracked to support his transition to school next year. Josh will now have the best possible start to school. Lisa has been overwhelmed with the progress made by her family as a result of connecting with the SunnyKids Virtual Village, something she feels she just wouldn’t have been able to accomplish on her own.