Charlie continues to get the support he needs during COVID-19

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Buninyong mum, Melissa Lorch said in this COVID-19 environment she is relieved she has her 11-year-old son, Charlie’s NDIS funding to fall back on to ensure his supports continue and he doesn’t regress.

“While having NDIS funding is a relief, I did feel concerned about how Charlie was going to continue his therapies in a virtual world, given he is non-verbal, he has a moderate intellectual disability and autism but thankfully it has worked out well,” she said.

“Charlie’s therapists have been great. I have regular phone appointments with his occupational therapist (OT), his speech therapists and his behavioural therapist, and we all talk together as well, to make sure we are supporting him the best way we can.

“They’ve been coaching me on how to incorporate all of his therapies into a daily schedule and thus far it has really been working.

“I have two support workers who come into our home to support Charlie as well. They are the best in the world!” she said.

"They have been working with him for five years, and I seriously don’t know where we would be without them. They even agreed to self-isolate between their own homes and ours to make sure we stay safe.”

Charlie sits on his orange trampoline

Melissa said together with the OT and Charlie’s support workers, they have developed a daily “schedule-type” routine of activities for Charlie.

“It includes lots of learning activities,” she said. “He is learning to write, colour by numbers and he’s even making slime! He’s doing all sorts of wonderful things and he has been responding well.

“Keeping every day structured really seems to work, and to be honest it’s been a bit a real eye-opener for me,” Melissa said.

Melissa said the speech therapist and the OT have also emailed her lots of resources and links to sheets she can download.

“At the moment, our speech therapist wants us to concentrate on teaching Charlie how to write his name, address and phone number. It’s a safety thing,” she said.

“The speech therapist has also emailed me through a whole lot of sheets for Charlie to work on. I have printed them out and laminated them, and given Charlie white board markers to use on them so I don’t have to continue printing them out.

“Working with him like this and seeing him happily engaged has made me think I could do these sorts of things with him all the time!

“I feel so lucky at the moment to have his NDIS funds because I can access all these supports and items he would normally have at school but not be able to access at home.

“I don’t want him to regress. I want people to remember there are plenty of things you can do at home education and support wise so it’s not the end of the world,” Melissa said.