Coming to us early on in his journey, Owen first started visiting Kids Plus Foundation when he was around four months old. Since then he’s ticked off several milestones as he continues his sessions at KPF.
We spoke with his mother, Emma Roehrs, on his journey with the Foundation and the impact it’s made on their lives.
What brought you to Kids Plus Foundation and using our services?
Owen was still in hospital and we could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel that he would be getting discharged soon.
We then realised that we were not just bringing home our baby, but that we still had a very long road ahead – with many doctors appointments and follow ups.
As we knew that Owen had suffered a brain injury due to his prematurity and his very poor health at birth, we soon learned the need to get very active with Owen’s rehabilitation and early intervention.
Owen’s paediatrician recommended Kids Plus Foundation. I called and made an appointment to be scheduled in for Owen in the first few weeks of his discharge from hospital.
What kind of a difference has it made for Owen?
In a way we were one of the lucky parents, in that we were told due to a brain MRI at 2 months of age that Owen had suffered brain damage.
We learnt quickly the importance of early intervention and became very proactive with ensuring Owen could access and benefit from early intervention.
I know that starting his therapy so quickly has hugely improved his abilities and function.
How have you both found the experience with KPF?
KPF are like family to us. Yes, over the 7 years our therapists have changed, but they are all amazing and dedicated to not only just Owen but to the rest of the family.
There have been days that I have had no choice but to bring my older son to Owen’s therapy sessions. The KPF therapists have always included Liam in the activities that they were doing with Owen. They have also always ensured my health and wellbeing. It’s a scary ride being thrust into the world of having a child with special needs. As a parent you have no choice but to learn quickly. It’s overwhelming and at times heart breaking, but I can honestly say that I have always felt kindness, respect and understanding from Owen’s entire KPF therapists. We owe a lot to them.
Have there been any highlights along the way since coming to KPF?
So many highlights! Owen starting to walk, to talk, eating more, using words instead of noises and most recently starting school. We had been working very hard to get him school ready, with physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy all working together. We kept him back a year so that we could spend another year focusing on getting him school ready and it has definitely paid off.
What are some goals that Owen has?
Now that Owen has settled into school, we are looking towards Grade 1 and his social skills. Owen has limitations, but we don’t want him to fall behind with his schoolwork and his social interactions – playing on the playground at school and keeping up with his peers.
We are currently and will continue to work on his self regulation, giving Owen the skills and tools to understand when he is heading into the red zone and how to manage this and bring himself back into the green zone.
Continuing his physiotherapy, especially after he has had his Botox injections for his Cerebral Palsy, we know doing intensive physiotherapy gets the most out of the injections.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Although we tend to see the therapist individually, they all work together to ensure the best outcome for Owen. I have cried, laughed and felt angry but I have always felt that we have been supported in this overwhelmingly crazy journey. I know that KPF are always there for us and we will never be alone. We will always be guided in the right direction to ensure that Owen is always put first.
I really don’t know where we would be without all of the support of Kids Plus Foundation. Thank you just doesn’t do it justice to how grateful we are.
Read other KPF stories here.