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Everyone deserves to have their voice heard.

Our voices are our primary tool for communication, enabling us to convey our needs, emotions, ideas, and personality to the world. However, for Ella, the gift of a voice was not something she had.

Ella is a remarkable individual who, from a very young age, struggled with significant communication challenges. Born with a disability that initially left her unable to walk or talk, her mother, Mel, was told that these basic abilities might elude Ella forever.

During those early years, Ella's world was a source of frustration and sorrow for Mel, who yearned for a deeper connection with her daughter. Recalling that time, Mel shares:

“Ella couldn’t tell me her dreams, or her favourite colour, or what she wanted for her birthday. It was hard to know those things.”

The world around Ella remained silent, and her thoughts and desires remained unspoken. Yet, hope and change were on the horizon.

A girl wearing pink glasses and smiling at the camera with paint on her clothes from an event

“I could always sense the frustration in Ella when she couldn’t easily communicate her needs. What she felt like for breakfast. What she wanted to wear. That she was tired. It was so difficult for her to express herself.

Mel, Ella’s mum

With the unwavering support of Scope's Therapy team, Ella embarked on an extraordinary journey to find her voice. Through the team's guidance, Ella and Mel explored a range of specialised Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools. After experimenting with various options, Ella discovered the 'Liberator' talker, a device that would become her voice. Mel explains:

“AAC was a bit slow going at the start, but then we got the Liberator talker. She learnt really quickly how to say her favourite foods. It was amazing to hear her voice.”

At first, the Liberator was a great tool for Ella however, Ella became reluctant to use her talker outside of home. It was at this pivotal moment that Mel recognised the need for additional support to ensure Ella's communication gains did not fade away.

Thankfully, a friend introduced Mel to Scope’s communication camp, CommuniCamp. The camp helped Ella and Mel connect with other children and families using AAC tools. Supported by Scope's speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and an AAC Mentor with lived experience, Ella discovered new ways to use her talker and connect with the world. Ella said:

“I went to CommuniCamp with Mum. We met lots of people that use AAC to talk. I learnt lots of new things. I met Kayli and had a great time.”

CommuniCamp offered more than just a service, it provided precious moments for mother and daughter to bond without the everyday pressures, fostering a deeper connection. Ella can now express her desires for lunch, communicate her feelings, and even share jokes, bringing joy and laughter.

Ella's confidence has soared to new heights, and her voice now fills the car during long drives, where she shares stories of her day, her friends, and her favourite movie characters.

The future shines brightly for Ella.

Thank you again for your wonderful support and on behalf of Ella, Mel and everyone at Scope, wishing you and your family a safe and happy festive season.

20231008 154405

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Inclusion

A Kaleidoscope of Creativity

This year Scope’s Kaleidoscope Exhibition was held at our Kangaroo Flat Hub in Bendigo and the Hawthorn Arts Centre.

Kaleidoscope 2 retouch