Ethan & Chloe
Ethan has a severe language impairment that has turned his childhood into an endless battle to communicate. Because he struggles to communicate he can’t make friends, express his needs, or tell anyone his side of the story.
He’s been bullied, excluded and misunderstood for all of his life. Ethan was two when his mum, Chloe, realised his language wasn’t developing at the same rate as other children his age. With professionals reassuring her it was “just a delay”, Chloe had no idea how devastating the impact would be on
Ethan’s life. But then he started preschool, and the nightmare began.
Frustrated and afraid, Ethan became withdrawn and hostile. Unable to cope with his desperate, ‘aggressive’ behaviour or interpret his frantic attempts to communicate, people simply judged him as a bad child. Chloe shared how her heart broke for her desperate little boy, who thought it was all his fault.
“Whether you are right or wrong, there’s a judge, a jury and there’s a trial. But Ethan has never been able to tell his side. He’s had the witness tell all the story and he’s never been able to defend himself. Five years of just being told he’s the naughty boy.”
No one should have to suffer in silence, ignored and disregarded, thinking their voice will never be heard. Chloe had to give up her job – and her income – to take care of Ethan. She fought hard to get help for her son, but found none. Despite the severity of his condition, he didn’t qualify for funding for classroom support or the intensive therapy he so urgently needed.
As many as 1 in 14 children in Australia have a Language Disorder – and yet as you know, the condition is shockingly hidden and misunderstood. All too often it’s disregarded as something a child
will ‘grow out of’, or misdiagnosed as a symptom of other conditions such as autism. The real tragedy here is that Language Disorders can be treated. With a combination of therapies and psychological support, much can be done to give children like Ethan back their voice.
Since March, Ethan has been taking part in our unique student program – a free intensive speech therapy service we are able to offer to a small number of families for whom help would otherwise
be out of reach.
“I feel like I’ve found the Holy Grail. It makes such a difference. When Ethan sits down with the speech therapist he’s in a safe, loving environment. He’s understood, and that’s such a huge thing for kids who don’t have language. And he takes away so much from those sessions. It’s improvement after improvement after improvement.”
Watch our special video detailing how Aaron learned to talk