Maddie’s Story

" From birth, Maddie was physically, emotionally and verbally abused by her parents, witnessing severe domestic violence and substance abuse, including Ice. "

Sadly, children who are abused and neglected can find it difficult to interact positively with other people or express themselves in words. They struggle to understand their feelings and frequently feel overwhelmed.

Anxious and afraid

Five-year-old Maddie has lived through moments that we can only imagine. Her parents showed her very little love and affection and there were no games or learning experiences in her home. Most days, Maddie was left to her own devices, charged with feeding, entertaining and caring for herself.

Due to the abusive nature of her home, Maddie was removed from her parents and now lives with her grandmother.

Couldn't find the words

As a result of the ongoing trauma, her speech and language was severely delayed and later she suffered separation anxiety from her grandmother, and was unable to safely leave her side. Maddie only communicated with her grandmother using gestures such as pointing, and very basic single words.

She doesn’t always understand her feelings; they’re big, loud, and overwhelming.

" Although she looks like any other little girl, the trauma she suffered has left scars that will last a lifetime without ongoing therapy. "

How we helped

Every Monday, Maddie has been receiving speech therapy and psychological support from Act for Kids to build on her relationship with her grandmother to encourage safe separation and develop speech and language skills.

" After two months of intensive integrated therapy, Maddie had a breakthrough. "

One Monday morning, the normally reserved and very anxious little girl greeted her therapist with a wide grin, declaring that she loves Mondays because she can spend time with her therapists and grandmother doing fun activities and afterward everyone is really happy.

Maddie can now communicate using phrases and short sentences with a range of vocabulary and expression, resulting in improved outcomes at home and at school. However, due to Maddie’s complex learning needs, her therapy has become more intensive from one session to the next.

Change of routine

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that Maddie needed to transition from face-to-face sessions to online telehealth. Her therapists were concerned that the sudden change might disrupt her learning and stunt her progress. However, telehealth has provided Maddie with new opportunities and the potential to increase skill development within her own home. Through telehealth, our speech pathologist and psychologist can now have more frequent sessions with Maddie to support her development and continue the progress she has achieved within the last few months.

Mondays have become a day of learning, fun, and happiness, where Maddie and her grandmother engage in an online session together. Her grandmother reports they are really enjoying all the additional activities and resources as it keeps Maddie busy, interested, and entertained, while also promoting her language and overall learning. In a recent therapy session, Maddie said that every day should be like a Monday – full of smiles and laughter.

The bigger problem

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020. Child Protection Australia 2018-19. Child welfare series no.72. Cat. No. CWS 74. Canberra: AIHW.

Abuse and neglect

" Many children experience multiple forms of abuse and neglect. "

The majority (54%) experience emotional abuse, followed by neglect (21%). 15% experience physical abuse and 10% experience sexual abuse.

Abuse and neglect can impact a child’s brain development, how they feel and think about themselves, how successful they are at school, even their physical development and skills. In the long term, this can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, difficulty developing and maintaining good relationships, unemployment, and all sorts of social disadvantage.

Early intervention makes a world of difference

It takes a lot of hard play to heal little hearts. Although Maddie continues to improve, she still struggles with anxiety and will need long-term support to help her overcome the years of severe abuse and neglect. She’s experienced a lot of trauma in her short life, but with continued support and positive reinforcement, Maddie will go on to express herself with confidence, engage in conversations, and no longer be filled with fear.

Thank you for helping us give kids like Maddie a safe and happy childhood, free from abuse and neglect.

How you can help

We can’t do this important work without your help. We rely heavily on donations to support our intensive therapy programs for abused and neglected kids, and early support for families at risk. Your donation will help us keep our doors open and expand our services.

Donate Now

Donations over $2 are tax deductible. Every donation, big or small, combines to make a real difference.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW

Donate Monthly

Your generosity means we can continue providing our integrated therapy programs for abused and neglected kids, and support services for families.

Becoming a Kids’ Crusader and donating monthly is the best way to help us help kids and families – it means we can direct funds where they’re needed most and make the biggest impact over time.

Workplace giving

As an employee, workplace giving enables you to make a regular donation to Act for Kids through your payroll, directly from your pre-tax pay. This means that you receive an immediate tax saving as it reduces your taxable income.

Donate in your will

By leaving a bequest to Act for Kids, you can make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people who have experienced abuse and neglect. By including Act for Kids in your will, you offer a gift of hope to future generations and you will help us give abused and neglected children the chance to lead safe, happy and fulfilling lives.

Dr Neil Carrington

CEO
Act for Kids

More stories

Ava and Zach’s Story

When authorities removed four-year-old Ava and three-year-old Zach from their parents, the siblings left with nothing but the dirty clothes on their backs.

Lacey-Jane’s Story

Neglected and scared, four-and-a-half year old Lacey-Jane began running away from prep school.

Thomas’ Story

At three years old Thomas could barely walk or speak, and his body was covered in scratches.

Close

Referral

If you have any questions or would like to access our free counselling and support, please call us directly to discuss or make an appointment.

Completed referral forms can be accessed from the services section on our website and email to
mail@actforkids.com.au or call 1300 228 000

  • Drop files here or
Close

Find a centre


Select a state to tell us where you are

Close

Referral Services

If you have any questions or would like to access our free counselling and support, please call us directly to discuss or make an appointment.

Completed referral forms can be accessed from the services section on our website and email to
mail@actforkids.com.au or call 07 3850 3200

  • Drop files here or