Will spent the first months of his life in an overseas orphanage, neglected and undernourished. Arriving at his new home in Australia at 16 months old, Will couldn’t crawl, play or grasp his mother Kathy’s finger. He was diagnosed with mild Global Developmental Delay. Gradually his naturally cheeky and loving personality emerged and he began to learn how to be a toddler – walking at 27 months and speaking his first words soon after. Although Will had other early intervention services, it was only once he started with STaR that he really began to shine. In 2016, Will spoke beautifully at the MonSTaR Ball as a second-time guest speaker and received standing ovation from over 400 inspired guests!
This young man has completed his HSC in 2017. Now working under the guidance of Director Katrina at Thinking Hats Early Learning Centre, Will is loving his first job as centre assistant. The children enjoy playing with Will and he loves reading them stories. He is learning every day from working with a team who support each other and embrace difference.
The patience and stimulation provided by STaR educators and his family have enabled Will to overcome his difficult start to life, helping him to take advantage of opportunities to reach his full potential.
By the time he left the STaR program he was certainly walking and talking … and reading and writing. Those early years at STaR were invaluable in helping Will reach his potential and give him (and us) confidence in his abilities. Having a child with disabilities participate in a mainstream day care environment with the help of specially trained teachers is a wonderful gift on many different levels; every child with additional developmental needs deserves an early educational start like STaR offers. It is truly a wonderful program.
Our family was lucky to participate in the pilot program for STaR at the Meadowbank Multipurpose Learning Centre. Our son Will had global developmental delay and at one point we were not sure if he would ever walk or talk. Being part of the STaR program was incredibly beneficial for not only Will but for the whole family. We received amazing support and encouragement in all areas of his development. We went from being very stressed about his future to enrolling him in a mainstream primary school.