Smart pup the goal for Lennox Head family
A bright future awaits four year old Eli at Goodstart Lennox Head
in spite of a rare genetic condition which causes seizures and communication challenges.
Eli’s family has recently started a fundraising campaign to acquire an assistance dog which will support him with decision making and alert his family if he has a seizure.
His dog will be supplied by Smart Pups
, a charity group based on the Sunshine Coast, and will take two years of intensive training to be ready. The cost to have the dog trained specifically for Eli’s condition is more than $20 000.
Centre director Katie James said her team was looking at ways they could boost the fundraising but their main priority is supporting Eli and his family as they learn more about his challenges.
“As his condition is so rare, it’s been quite a process for the family to find out exactly what’s going on and how best to support him,” Ms James said.
“We partner with the family in every respect when it comes to Eli’s development and have teamed up with an occupational therapist and speech therapist who come once a week and do their sessions here in the centre, which is a huge benefit for the family and Eli.
“We also collaborate with other external agencies and meet regularly to discuss progress and to support the family so we can understand and devise goals with Eli.”
A priority at the centre is ensuring Eli is included in activities with the children in his room, something made easier by his enthusiasm to be involved.
“He’s a really social child and he enjoys interaction with the educators and the children. We work in small groups and he’s always encouraged to participate, which he loves.
“We communicate with the other children, to help them understand how to help and interact with Eli. As language and communication are difficult for him, on occasions communication is a barrier between Eli and other children.
“Last year there was a child in our centre who Eli really bonded with. She took such lovely care of him and he followed her everywhere. Her name was one of the first words he spoke, which was amazing.”
If you’d like to help Eli’s family acquire a smart pup, you can support them through their fundraising page