Parents thank Oldham care team for ‘unwavering’ support

Two healthcare staff from Oldham have been praised for their commitment and professionalism in helping a patient with autism and her family.

ElizabethHelen Newman, Speech and Language Therapist for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and Sonja Jones, Additional Needs Worker for Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust, worked with Elizabeth Ward and her family as part of her care team.

Elizabeth aged 4 was diagnosed with autism and the family have found it a difficult and stressful experience. Elizabeth has struggled with many day to day tasks, especially those involving social situations. A number of speech and language strategies were used including; using objects and pictures to aid understanding, interactive play sessions and intensive interaction involving being responsive and mirroring Elizabeth’s actions and sounds. This enabled Elizabeth to learn about the fundamental building blocks of communication which can eventually encourage speech as Elizabeth progresses.

Sally and Stewart Ward, Elizabeth’s parents, said: “Helen’s demeanour and outlook is so optimistic that we felt lifted during the early appointments, when we were worried Elizabeth may never speak.

“We have learned so much from Helen, and Elizabeth has gone from being distressed to a happy little girl.

“Sonja balanced her practical support and professional empathy in such a way that we always felt we had a support network behind us.

“Previously Elizabeth was so distressed at leaving her home environment, but in the last 12 months we’ve attended family weddings, restaurants, the zoo and had our first family holiday. This is due to the unwavering support from Sonja and Helen.”

Martin Roe, Acting Chief Executive of Pennine Care, said: “It’s always gratifying to receive such positive feedback from our service users and their families. I would like to thank Sonja and Helen for the excellent service, hard work and commitment provided to the Ward family.”