As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child and this is especially true for young children with autism.
Early intervention is key for the learning and development of children with autism and with the support of Lions volunteers a young non-verbal autistic 4-year-old is kickstarting 2022 with the education he needs to reach his full potential.
Thomas’ parents are from Columbia. They are not permanent residents in Australia and therefore cannot access the NDIS. Navigating the system is particularly difficult and expensive. Despite both working Thomas’ parents couldn’t afford the early intervention their 4-year-old son needs.
When he came across the Martinez family last year, Sydney based Lion volunteer Elvio Munzone was on a mission to do what he could to help.
He quickly rallied within the Lions network and was able to secure $22,000 funding which will give Thomas access to 48 weeks of early intervention education.
“At Lions we’re passionate about helping those in need in the community. When Thomas’ parents reached out to me and explained their situation I was very keen to do what I could to assist. Early intervention is so important particularly for children with autism. This is not the first time Lions has supported young children with autism. A few years ago, we supported a young non-verbal boy with autism who benefited greatly and is now speaking and attending school.”
Thanks to Lions Clubs of Bondi, Manly, Lugarno, Coogee, Hunter Business Lions Club, Blacktown Ponds, Parramatta, Epping Eastwood, Sydney Seaside, Sydney Champions Inner West, Follow Your Dream Foundation-Australia and a grant from the Australian Lions Foundation, Thomas will now have the opportunity to benefit from early intervention too.
Thomas’ parents say they are very grateful for the support.
“As a young family and not permanent residents in Australia, navigating the health and education system can be hard and it’s very expensive. Thomas is everything to us and we are just so grateful that he is now able to access the early intervention that he needs, “says Daniel Martinez.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you to Lions for your support. It’s hard to find more words to express just how grateful we are. It is such an important time in our son’s life and we are sure that he will benefit greatly from this early intervention education. Thank you.”