“ Raising a child with special needs is rewarding, yet often highly challenging and financially draining. After meeting special mum Lyndal Lee and her amazing son, Liam, and discovering just what challenges this family face on a daily basis, local Samantha Anderson and the Wauchope Apex Club have joined forces to hold a special fundraiser on August 14. Read on to meet some truly amazing people. ”
How did you meet Lyndal and her family, and what made you decide to hold a fundraiser for their benefit?
Sam: I met Lyndal and her family 4 years ago through a mutual friend, and we both have children with special needs. As I got to know Lyndal, I was impressed by her strength in coping with such a challenging situation. I also felt frustrated by the lack of financial support that Lyndal receives to help with the most basic needs of her children and in this case, mobility and transport for Liam.
Most of us probably take for granted being able to drive our children to school in any type of vehicle, or being able to just pop our children on a bus. Lyndal jumped through hoops for 2 years to obtain a suitable wheelchair for Liam, and now she doesn’t have a vehicle to accommodate it. I have another friend who was in exactly the same predicament recently, and this time wanted to do something to help and possibly raise awareness of the financial stress some families experience.
Please describe the DIR Floortime Workshop that’s been arranged to raise funds for the family – who will be speaking, and what topics they will be presenting?
Sam: The workshop we are running to raise money for Lyndal is being presented by ‘Creating Meaning’, the professional partnership of Georgina Ahrens, Paediatric Occupational Therapist and Dana Baltutis, Speech Pathologist. Both have gained their experience by working around the world with special needs children and now run their own private practices, specialising in a number of therapies, including DIR Floortime. They also travel around Australia and overseas training families and therapists in their approach.
The workshop will help parents, carers, grandparents, therapists and educators support children of any age in improving social skills, communication skills, problem solving skills, behaviour and anxiety levels and to better understand and relate to the child’s individual differences. This is particularly helpful to children with Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Developmental Disorders and sensory issues, as they are often challenged in many of these areas.
How did Wauchope Apex Club become involved in the fundraising efforts, and what is their role in the event?
James Wallis: Sam’s father was an Apex Club life member, so Apex was an obvious choice for Sam when she approached us with a proposal to raise money for Lyndal’s family. The Wauchope Apex Club jumped on board quickly and willingly. Our role is the administration aspect of running the workshop and anything else we can do to make it a success.
Sam: I was also aware of the Apex Foundation, whose goal is to improve the quality of life of Australians with special needs – particularly children.
How much money would you like to raise through the event, and what will the funds ultimately be used for?
Sam: The course has the potential to raise up to $12,000, depending on the number of participants. The Apex Club will give all profits directly to Lyndal to help purchase a vehicle to accommodate Liam’s wheelchair. We are seeking sponsors from the community to contribute to the presenters fees. Any sponsorship will significantly increase the profits directed to Lyndal’s family.
Who will benefit from attending the DIR Floortime Workshop, and where do they go to register/find out more information?
Sam: The workshop is aimed at parents, carers, grandparents, therapists and educators of children with special needs.
This is a one day workshop being held at the Port Macquarie Panthers on Tuesday 14 August. The cost is $80 for parents and grandparents and $120 for professionals and includes morning tea and lunch. To register or obtain more information, contact Samantha Anderson on 0409 866 916 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
a few words from lyndal lee
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family …
Liam is 10 years old, and he has an extremely rare genetic syndrome, which was only discovered little over a year ago. It has only been recently seen in Liam and one other person, and is yet unnamed. It affects Liam’s mobility and muscle growth and development, and he is therefore in a wheelchair.
Liam has a younger sister, Lucy, who is 4 years old. They both live at home in Port Macquarie with myself.
What benefit will the DIR Floortime Workshop be able to provide your family?
This fundraising event is a great seminar put together by Sam Anderson, and supported by Apex Wauchope, for professionals and parents/guardians involved in looking after people and getting to know more about a particular therapy for people with Autism called DIR Floor Time Therapy, and will also feature a prominent speech pathologist from Sydney NSW.
All proceeds after costs will be donated to our family in the hopes of purchasing a new vehicle for Liam’s wheelchair to be able to travel in; he is just in a new wheelchair which is substantially larger than his previous one, and we have no means of transporting it to and from school − or anywhere else. We would love to be able to purchase a vehicle that fits his chair in it, for getting to school, and taking it away on our many medical trips to Sydney.
I have been constantly looking to see if there is any sort of funding to support people in wheelchairs for private transport and have not been able to find anything, and through networking with other parents and carers of people with wheelchairs, there seems to be nothing available.
Any final words … do you have anyone you’d like to thank, or additional comments you’d like to add?
I would like to say a big thank you to Sam Anderson for all her efforts and countless hours organising this fundraising event, and to the Apex Club of Wauchope for getting behind her and supporting the seminar. It will be an amazing and educational day for all, and I am looking forward to learning more about this amazing therapy.
Thanks Lyndal. Interviews by Jo Atkins.
First photo: Samantha Anderson and son Jayden. Group photo: Lyndal Lee, son Liam Etherington, and James Wallis and Heather McPhail from Wauchope Apex Club. Thanks also to Port Macquarie Public School, for allowing the group photo to be taken on site.
This story was published in issue 80 Greater Port Macquarie Focus