Samuel was born on the 9th October 2008 to proud parents Sandra and Phillip. At 4 months of age Sam had a bowel Intussusception[i]and was rushed to the Gold Coast Hospital where they blew him up with gas, they said because it was detected remarkably early that this saved Samuel from an operation and losing part of his bowel.
At 9 months of age, during the 09 July floods, Samuel became very ill again and was cut off by flood waters from medical help, the strength and determination of a mothers love saved Samuels life. Please read attached link.
Then at around the age of 18 months (he didn't have immunisation) Sandra and Phillip noticed Samuel was losing skills such as eye contact etc., and so did his family day care teacher (this happened within a week). Samuel was taken to a GP who sent them to pediatricianwithin that week. Samuel was then diagnosed with Severe Autism[ii]. Samuel was then sent to the Far West Children's hospital and to Autism.Spectrum.Australia.(Aspect) in Sydney for a week where they also diagnosed Samuel with Global Developmental Delay (GDD)[iii]and absent epilepsy seizures[iv].
Samuel attends Byron Bay Early Intervention Centre; he also attends Wilsons Creek Community preschool with an aid and recently started at Biala Special School, Ballina, as of Friday 19th July. Samuel also does riding for the disabled at the Mitchell Centre in Teven.
Samuel is attracted to water and frequently wanders away. Samuel is nonverbal and non-communicative & does not respond to any commands. Samuel does not understand danger like height, steps, fire, water, swings etc. The everyday things that may not be dangerous to the average child can be highly dangerous to Samuel.
On Thursday 11th July 2013 Samuel wandered away again, this time the Police, Rescue Helicopter, Dog squad, numerous family members and neighbors were out looking for him. Thankfully, with daylight fading, Sam was found after 2 ½ hours of searching, they thought they had lost their little boy forever. A very terrifying fact that Sandra and Phillip have to contend with is a dam not more than 50 m from their home. As Samuel wanders frequently and is quite the escape artist, Sandra and Phillip have been looking for over 9 months for a suitable affordable house in Mullumbimby which will be a lot safer for Samuel.
Sandra and Phillip have looked into getting a GPS tracking system that will work in Non-mobile reception area, none are available. Sandra rang the police to see if they could suggest anything but they said they have the same communication problems in this area. They have looked into virtual fencing but are way out of our price range and are not reliable at pin pointing where the subject is located.
Sandra and Phillip have applied for a Smart Pup to help Keep Samuel Safe 24/7. But these special Assistance Dogs don't come cheap, they cost $25,000 each but Sandra and Phillip need to raise $10,000 to be given an Assistance Dog.
Sandra and Phillip wish to thank everyone so very much for their interest in their plight. "Our only wish is that we Keep Sam Safe 24/7.
Sandra and Phillip, Samuels Parents
To add to Sandra & Phillips worries for their precious son is the fact that Sandra also suffers from TM (Transverse Myelitis)[v]. Butdespite this Sandra is still your typical loving mother who only has her son's best interests at the top of her priority list.
[i] Intussusception occurs when one portion of the bowel slides into the next, much like the pieces of a telescope. When this occurs, it can create a blockage in the bowel, with the walls of the intestines pressing against one another. This, in turn leads to swelling, inflammation, and decreased blood flow to the part of the intestines involved.
[ii]Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person's lifetime. People with ASD have problems with social and communication skills. Many people with ASD also have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to sensations. It is part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In most cases its causes are unknown. Today, 1 in 110 individuals are diagnosed with autism.
[iii]Global developmental delay is often identified during infancy as part of the regular health checks. From very early on, children are expected to reach developmental milestones within each key area. For example, some of the motor skills include rolling over, sitting up, walking and picking up small objects. Speech and language skills include identifying sounds and speech, bubbling, imitating speech and finally talking. Academic skills include memory and learning. Finally, some of the social and self-help skills include exploration, interacting with others and skills such as eating and dressing. When first noticed that children fail to reach these developmental milestones, further tests are needed to evaluate the extent of delay and the areas of concern.
[iv]Absence seizures are brief (usually less than 20 seconds), generalized epileptic seizures of sudden onset and termination. When someone experiences an absence seizure they are often unaware of their episode. Episodes of absence seizures can often be mistaken for inattentiveness when misdiagnosed and can occur 50-100 times a day. They can be so difficult to detect that some people may go months or years before given a proper diagnosis. There are no known before or after effects of absence seizures.
[v]Transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one level, or segment, of the spinal cord. The term myelitis refers to inflammation of the spinal cord; transverse simply describes the position of the inflammation, that is, across the width of the spinal cord. Attacks of inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibers. This damage causes nervous system scars that interrupt communications between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body.
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