“When I heard my five year old say ‘Mummy’ for the first time, it touched my heart . . . Home Link’s Support gave me confidence as a mother.”
Emma was aged 4 when her family were referred to Home Link Family Support. She was in her pre- school year, and had a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Emma’s Mum, Grace, said that she was feeling isolated after receiving this diagnosis. Emma said “bye bye”, but did not use many other words to communicate.
The family was visited by an Early Years Coordinator, and supported to set some personal goals. Grace’s main priority was supporting Emma’s communication development. The Early Years Coordinator then visited the family on a regular basis. The Coordinator carried out Bookbug Home sessions with Emma and her Mum. The sessions were adapted to meet Emma’s communication needs. For example, when singing nursery rhymes, we paused for Emma to fill in the gaps. At first, Emma took a long time to do this, and found it difficult to join in. “Twinkle twinkle little star” was the first song that she started to join in with. We also played games and used Signalong signs to encourage Emma to communicate and take turns. Grace continued these activities with Emma during the week. In particular she did a lot of singing with her.
After we had been working together for a few months, there was a dramatic change in Emma’s development. She started to use several words to communicate for the first time. She became very familiar with all the Bookbug songs, and joined in with them on the visits. She developed her ability to look at books, and her concentration abilities. We spent some time going out in the garden and creating opportunities to use language when playing outside. Emma’s language skills really took off!
Grace said: “The support from Home Link Family Support was really awesome, and so inspiring – it really helped me and gave me confidence as a mother. The first time Emma said “Mummy,” it touched my heart and I felt a new connection with her. I was able to relate to the Coordinator as she had a friendly approach. I felt free to express myself and to open up. I always looking forward to every visit, and Emma really looks forward to it too.”
As Early Years Coordinator visiting this family, it has been a privilege to be part of their journey and to see Emma making such amazing progress. Grace has been inspiring in the way she has set a personal goal and worked towards this, and has really developed her confidence as a Mum.
(Names have been changed)