Thomas’ Story

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

Children who have been abused or neglected can often be developmentally delayed, operating at a level well below their peers. This can severely impact their education and future prospects, and their ability to form positive relationships.

Severely neglected and beaten

Thomas’s short life had been one of abuse and neglect. He was frequently hit by his parents and when he wasn’t being beaten he was completely ignored. No one played with Thomas, no one spoke to him, and he was fed only once a day. He ate with his fingers, gulping down food so quickly that he often made himself sick. Eventually Thomas was removed from his parents and placed with a caring foster family.

Three, going on two

Thomas was referred to Act for Kids with scars on his little body telling a tragic story of physical abuse. Equally heartbreaking were his developmental delays, a result of severe neglect. While other kids his age would laugh, run and play together, Thomas only had the development and coordination of a two year old.

" If a child experiences abuse or neglect at a young age, often their brain may not develop properly. Without intervention impairments can be permanent. "

Three, going on two

Thomas never smiled

" Through no fault of his own, Thomas had fallen behind. "

He could barely walk a few steps without falling over; he had mastered a few words but could not string a meaningful sentence together. He avoided eye contact, never smiled and his vacant stare revealed his torment.

How we helped

Our integrated therapy team including an Occupational therapist, Speech and language therapist and Psychologist helped Thomas address both his developmental and emotional needs. He particularly enjoyed the large play room at our centre where he could play and move freely, developing his motor skills and coordination as he progressed through therapy.

Our team also worked with Thomas’ foster mum to help her understand his behaviour and develop ways she could encourage his independence and confidence. Together we helped alleviate his separation anxiety and he’s making great progress, picking up new skills each time he visits his therapist.

" One afternoon Thomas asked “Can I run?” pointing to the corridor, a sentence he could not have articulated six months earlier. “Yes, go, run!” was his therapist’s reply; his previously sad and listless eyes lit up as he took off down the corridor without a single stumble. "

Making positive progress

Though still underdeveloped compared with other kids his age, we are so proud of Thomas’ achievements. His foster mum is confident he will thrive when he starts prep next year. Our team will carefully transition Thomas to prep, and work closely with his future teacher to ensure his progress is positive.

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The bigger problem

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Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child protection Australia 2016-17

Abuse and neglect

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

The majority (48%) experience emotional abuse, followed by neglect (24%). 16% experience physical abuse and 12% 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

With early and appropriate support, children and young people can overcome their experiences, and go on to have happy and productive lives.

Our team of experts works with kids like Thomas every day. We have waiting lists for our critical services; thanks to your support we can help many more.

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

Read next

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Brodie’s Story

Brodie was just four years old when he came to Act for Kids. He had lived through four long years of being chronically neglected by his parents.

Lacey-Jane’s Story

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

Jessica’s Story

When mum got drunk, Jessica, aged three, would hide for hours in a darkened stairwell to try and avoid being beaten.

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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

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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

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