Dex’s Story – Cahoots Changing Lives for the Better
Did you know… There are over 700,000 Australians diagnosed with a brain injury with 2 out of 3, acquired before the age of 25!
Acquired disability can happen to anyone, at anytime and the longer young people stay isolated, the worse their futures become.
Dex was 6 years old when he had a stroke; he woke up one morning crying, with a splitting headache, painful ears, and could not use the one side of his face. His grandma automatically knew something wasn’t right and rushed him to emergency, where Dex was admitted to hospital where he would spend the following week. After that week in hospital, his family was told that there was no point in keeping him in hospital, and they recommended he head back home and transition back into school.
As a result of the stroke, Dex now lives with an acquired brain injury. Following this unexpected occurrence, Dex’s speech problems worsened, and he was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety.
Dex’s family were devastated; they didn’t know what was going to happen? He developed a few challenging behaviours, which took a little while to get used to. One of these challenges was meltdowns, which could involve him throwing and banging his head against walls. Noisy spaces or large crowds would easily trigger Dex, and if things go to a point where he felt they were too hard for him, he wouldn’t participate.
Sadly, this could lead to Dex missing out on valuable experiences to shape his world.
Dex is a bright, vivacious, and loving child, who loves interacting with other kids, and because of his disability, he is slower to retain information. As a result, Dex struggles to keep up with his peers at school and connect. He is often forgetful and battles to remember things without a lot of repetition.
Dex now goes for regular MRIs and has daily medication; he has speech therapy and occupational therapy weekly. He doesn’t fully understand what is going on in the world around him, and for Dex’s family, his care is 24/7. Some days are a little more tricky than others; Dex’s grandma and pop navigate times of him waking through the night, dances around taking medication, and on some days not wanting to go to school.
In 2020, a family member gifted Dex a Cahoots camp so that his family could have some respite.
Since attending Cahoots, Dex has grown in his independence, and has learned how to connect and behave with others around him. The little things we take for granted can be a challenge for Dex, such as getting up on time and washing his hair but through Cahoots experiences, Dex has learned valuable life skills to help his grandma in daily activities.
One of the highlights is Dex sitting down and having a meal. For some, this might not seem like a lot, but for Dex’s family, this has been a tremendous achievement. Dex isn’t the most excellent eater, and at Cahoots camps, he learns to make his own choices about his food, and most importantly, to sit and have a meal with others around him.
An essential life skill for a young person like Dex is the ability to quickly self-regulate. This learned skill is highly beneficial to Dex and his family in situations in and outside their home. Dex’s grandma expressed proudly, due to Cahoots experiences, he has learned to quickly self-regulate, which has been a tremendous help.
Dex attends Kids Weeklong Camps; unfortunately, day programs and weekend camps are not suitable due to his anxiety. Kids Weeklong Camps are where Dex gets the real reward. He can learn and develop new skills, grow in independence through repetition and practice, retain his learned skills to take home to grandma and pop.
Cahoots services have been highly beneficial for Dex, and these are experiences that he would otherwise go without. No one knows what Dex’s future looks like with his acquired brain injury. One thing is for certain; Dex is surrounded by his loving family, who do everything they can to give him the best life. Cahoots proudly supports Dex and other young people like him on a journey to provide opportunities to connect, learn and celebrate through joy.
Unfortunately, Dex’s story is not an isolated one and the effects are devastating to the whole family.
By simply donating $40 a month, you are gifting young people like Dex, the chance to feel happy and connected again!
To gift hope click below or head to www.cahoots.org.au/donate
On behalf of our Cahoots families and our team – we thank you. Your support means the world to us.