Maaraka Dabakarn Stories of Change – Parent Stories

Justine FawcettConnecting Community 4 Kids Blog

What were your concerns prior to attending Maaraka Dabakarn?

My 5 year old son was displaying aggressive behaviours which seemed to escalate quickly, often with no build up at all. This would include kicking, hitting, and trying to bite. Sometimes it was out of the blue and we were baffled about what caused the reaction. He would refuse to do anything unless it seemed like it was his decision.

He was also experiencing feelings of anxiety, refusing to go to school, and refusing to leave the house for other activities because his shoes were not tight or socks not on properly.

We also noticed a lot of defiance towards certain things we would ask of him, and he started to become extremely demanding, asking us to do things he is capable of doing himself. This can obviously be very disruptive and challenging for the whole family, and we were often unsure of how to handle these behaviours.

Was Maaraka Dabakarn helpful for you?

I was ‘that person’ who asks way too many questions! I was there to get support for my son, and I was so relieved to receive the support I needed. I was surprised at how many parents there were, and honestly, it felt good to see that we are not the only ones struggling with our child’s behaviour. It was eye opening as we received great help from professionals that we didn’t initially think were applicable to us, especially speech and occupational therapy. But as it turned out, they provided a wealth of knowledge and understanding specific to our situations.

Overall, all the therapists were really helpful and we were glad to have attended. I was pleasantly surprised as to how much of it was relevant to us given that it was in a group setting and it was amazing to think of the amount of support and useful strategies we were able to get with only 30 minutes per therapist.

After Maaraka Dabakarn what changed for you and your child?

We haven’t yet sought further assistance as we have taken the opportunity to implement some of their advice and tips as a first step. However, we may go down the avenue of assessment and/or professional support at some point soon so it is great that we now know the avenues available and what is involved. We now feel better supported to work with our child’s needs and have taken on board a lot of the strategies and already we are seeing improvements.

Since attending Maaraka Dabakarn, my husband and I have realised that a lot of the issues we were seeing appear to stem from watching TV playing games or being tired. With this new awareness, we have now been able to make changes to counteract some of these issues. In terms of parenting, we are also finding that our reaction to his actions have changed and are working better than before. This event has provided our family with some immediate relief, and we are now able to consider the next steps for us in an informed way.

My son, who is 3 years old, has developmental difficulties and I feel we, as a family, have fallen through the cracks of the system. He is not the loudest in the room and is a lovely boy, therefore people often don’t realise the struggles we face.

Speech is his main area of delay, and even though we have started some interventions, we need a diagnosis to access additional services and programs. He also experiences sensory overwhelm, especially in loud rooms, making it very hard for him to socialise and concentrate in these settings. I can see how stressful this can be for him and sometimes he demonstrates big behaviours, such as throwing chairs, which is hard to handle.

We are currently accessing a public group program, but our main battle right now is trying to find a developmental paediatrician who can confirm a diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay which would allow us to access funding.

This process has been exhausting, and despite having worked within this sector myself, I am unable to find a paediatrician who is accepting referrals anywhere in Perth.

It is so disheartening, and as exhausted by this as I am, I can’t help but wonder how other parents are coping who have no support or knowledge in this area.

The Maaraka Dabakarn event was helpful and a great source of free information. The behaviour therapist conducted a mini assessment with my son and was able to use my son as an example in the group, so I received very tailored information.

As we were already seeing a speech pathologist, I already knew a lot of the information provided in that session, but I found the OT’s input about sensory issues very interesting.

I also already have contact with WANSLEA, but I think having them at the event is a really good idea. I spoke to them on the day anyway, and it was beneficial as the lady noticed my son struggling to cope in the room with sensory overwhelm. This made me feel validated and it was reassuring to see someone else notice my son’s difficulties. It was just a small comment, but it reaffirmed the importance of pursuing further help for my child.

Attending Maaraka Dabakarn has confirmed my current concerns and that I have the right plan in place. I just need to continue fighting through the steps and barriers.

I already had a lot of support externally, especially having contacts in the industry, and finding a Paediatrician is still my main priority. Although this event could not help me in this way, the information and strategies provided were still relevant and have given me more ideas on what I can do with my son until we can get a diagnosis and more funding for services.

I was shown sensory balls which I will now use at home with my son and have also increased massage and more physical play on advice of the OT. I have tried this a few times and can see it is helping my son get used to sensory stimulation. On the advice of one of the therapists, I have started implementing “special time” and calling it so when I speak to my son. Whilst I was spending quality time with him already, it was amazing to think that just calling it “special time” could really change the way my son experienced this. I see his face light up now when I tell him we are going to have “special time” where we just play or cuddle with no other interruptions. Such a small thing has made such a big difference and we both now love this time together even more.