Nolan Exceeds His Goals Through the Regional Intensive Therapy Program

RegionalProgram_Jan24 (7)_EDITED

“It’s just honestly the best thing we’ve done for Nolan, and you just get so much, peace of mind, if nothing else, that what you’re doing is in their best interest.”- mum, Caitlin

Nolan and his family travelled down from Geraldton to attend the Autism Association of Western Australia’s Regional Intensive Therapy Program in January 2024.

It is the third time the family have attended the program, having first joined in January 2022. Nolan’s parents have shared how the skills he has learnt year on year have proved to be invaluable and have led him to achieving his biggest milestones to date.  

“We find as soon as he’s been on the program, and especially going into new school years, he just seems to be more confident and content going into school. 

“For the first time ever, he received a school report because he’d produced enough work and he received a merit certificate for the fact he’s now self-determined,” said Nolan’s mum, Caitlin.   

Nolan and his Dad with his Merit Certificate

To add to this achievement, last term, Nolan stood up in front of his school as he joined his classmates in performing during an assembly. Nolan kept this huge accomplishment as a surprise for his parents – who couldn’t believe what they were seeing! 

Throughout the week Nolan and his family joined other families from regional WA for a week of therapy including one-on-one and group sessions, workshops, parent and carer catch ups, family time, ending with a celebration of Nolan’s achievements across the week.  

Caitlin continued: “He seems to really come into his own after he’s been which I think comes from getting that one-on-one with all the therapists as they can really recognise what he needs at that point. As his needs change so consistently, we just find having that targeted, one on one, being able to recognise what it is he needs at that point, I think is probably the most valuable thing we get from the workshops.” 

Nolan’s dad, Michael, added: “There’s been some evidence through school that he’s been able to cope with things in the playground and in the classroom after being at the program where they’ve shown him coping strategies.” 

While Nolan spent the week taking part in a variety of activities – including making ice cream and unpoppable bubbles – which focused on skills such as, social skills and friendships, attention and interaction, emotional regulation skills and communication, Michael and Caitlin attended our parent workshop and coaching session with their therapist. 

Speaking about the importance of attending these parent sessions, Caitlin, said: “It makes a huge difference attending the workshop. Because we know we’re coming, over those months leading up, we really pay attention to the things that he’s struggling with, that we just can’t help with because we don’t understand, or we don’t know.  

“Being able to come in and talk to someone about that, it’s so valuable. The greatest thing is there’s no judgement. It’s really nice to be able to say to somebody ‘we’re not winning here’ without there being that level of judgment.  

“Sitting with someone who can clearly say ‘we’ve actually seen this before and it’s probably this that’s causing it and this is what we do so try this and see if it works. Let us know if it’s worked and if it hasn’t, we’ll try something else’. It’s made our family a lot calmer, knowing that there is someone we can go to.” 

Michael and Caitlin have also found the parent workshops are a great opportunity to speak to parents who are sharing similar experiences to them.  

“It means being able to speak to people who have Autistic children that are a fair bit older and hearing stories about their children who live ‘normal’ lifestyles,” said Michael.  

“Hearing these stories helps to give you a bit more certainty in what the future looks like and gives you a lot more confidence. 

“By attending the workshops and having conversations with Nolan, it also shows him that we’re trying to learn as well and that we’re not just dropping him off and going off and doing our own thing and leaving him with it. It’s the whole family and it’s a bit more inclusive for him.” 

Attending workshops as a family, means what is learnt during the Regional Intensive Therapy Program can be taken away and used in the home by every member of the family.  

Caitlin said: “The tools put in place have longevity because everyone is involved in it. We don’t treat Nolan differently, we implement it across the board, because we find what works for Nolan also often works for his younger brother. Being able to work and adapt everything to create that structure that works for the whole family, it has just made the house so much calmer. 

“The program is 100% worth the investment. It is targeted and you can see results and you know that you are working towards goals that you know are going to benefit them.  

“Coming here, you get a very clear set of goals and ways to reach them, so you are actually reaching goals. They [the children] love to celebrate when they get a win, and the biggest thing is to come back and say, ‘look, everything worked’, which is a really nice feeling.” 

Michael added: “Being able to see the results gives you the confidence to keep pushing hard to make sure he [Nolan] gets what he needs. It’s so worthwhile!” 

Find out more about our Regional Intensive Therapy program or to express your interest in the July program. 

Speak now