Ava Ford with Kids Are Kids!’ Senior Physiotherapist Sam and Physiotherapist Tanya.

Ava is a happy 6 year old girl who adores her big sister Emily and her parents Kristen and Shaun. Her mother, Kristen, describes Ava as a funny and cheeky little girl who has so much love to give, anyone that meets Ava falls in love with her gorgeous personality. Her favourite things in life are hugs, Toy Story and music clips.  She thrives on social interaction and enjoys participating at school.

The journey of Ava and her family has been challenging. Ava did not develop as a typical baby and was first diagnosed with Autism in 2014. As time went on and after rigorous therapy which was not as successful as Ava’s family would have hoped for, Ava’s symptoms displayed more as those of Rett Syndrome and she was formally diagnosed in 2017.

“Ava’s diagnosis was bittersweet as we finally knew why these things were happening to Ava and how we could tackle them head on. But, at the same time we were devastated to learn that her future isn’t how we hoped or dreamed for her. We get on with life and tackle it day by day and are in absolute awe of our girl and how happy she always is, hoping this is her way of telling us we are doing a good job”, said Ava’s mother Kristen.

Rett Syndrome is a rare neurological disorder affecting girls, which leads to severe physical and intellectual disability. Those with Rett Syndrome often develop normally until 6 to 18 months of age when they enter a period of regression, lose speech and motor skills and develop repetitive hand movements. It can lead to seizures, irregular breathing, spinal curvature and gastrointestinal issues.

The team at Kids Are Kids! are supporting Ava and her family with Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Physiotherapy. Kids Are Kids! has assisted the Ford family in so many ways, from tailored individual therapy plans assisting Ava with her developmental needs to the planning and fund obtainment of a modified vehicle which has allowed them to maintain a lifestyle with as much freedom as possible.

“Working together with Ava’s family has been very rewarding. Ava is trialing an Eye Gaze device to assist with communication and we recently delivered her first wheelchair. Ava’s teachers have said she is enjoying school more as she’s able to participate more independently”, said Senior Physiotherapist, Sam Ziegelaar. 

Ava is able to walk however has an ataxic gait, therefore is unsteady with the potential to stumble or fall. “With Ava, our main goal is to maintain her level of mobility, muscle strength and cardiovascular health and we are excited to now be able to include our new LiteGait Treadmill into her therapy”, said Sam.

The family are thrilled for Ava to use the LiteGait Treadmill. “I think it will do so much for not only Ava but so many kids. It’s so refreshing to have this service so close to home”, said Kristen.

Ava and her family look forward to continuing their work with Kids Are Kids!

“We have been thrilled with the staff and services from Kids Are Kids! The team have been through the journey with us and are always there to support us when we feel lost and unsure, reassuring us that we are doing a great job which gives us, as parents, that motivation to keep going. I had no idea how much we would get to know these people – they truly are part of the family”, said Kristen.

Kids Are Kids! thank corporate sponsors ALCOA’s  PEACH trust and One2One Inc. for making the LiteGait Treadmill possible.

To speak to one of our caring team members  call 9313 6566.

Images: Credit Martin Poole at Speedlite Photography



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