Parent Testimonials

Here are a selection of testimonials from parents whose children have participated in our specialised programmes at The Child Development Centre.

Maria

3 year old who had a tentative diagnosis of ASD

Maria’s mum talks about how Maria’s tentative diagnosis of ASD effected the family, and the describes the immediate positive impact felt after their first LiFT session.

“In my household we still refer to Karen O’ Connor as our Fairy Godmother – she made what we were lead to believe would be a life long inflection, go away, with her magic wand. Our daughter was given a tentative diagnosis of autism when she was two. She was not speaking and appeared to live in her own world, while our world was crumbling all around us. Devastating doesn’t even come close to describe what myself and my husband went through. This time was a hazy period in our life, but I do recall one bit: closing the door, curling up with our beautiful daughter and crying for a week. We were a mess.”

“It’s a bit of a story of how I stumbled across our Fairy Godmother, but it was one of the only meetings with a professional that gave us hope. The doctors and speech therapists were quite frankly, useless. One exception, Dr. Goodwin McDonnell, a great man, who handed me Karen’s book whenever he first examined our daughter and told me “the music is the key”. I read Karen’s book – I had to meet this women – my daughter had to meet this women.

I recall our first meeting. After assessing our daughter for a couple of hours, Karen told me that she did not believe that she was autistic, but that she needed immediate treatment. We commenced the LiFT Programme followed by the booster. Coming from a medical family, I was at first cautious, but as Karen had remarked, “You have no-where else to go other than brain surgery”!! She was totally spot on. Mainstream medience had failed us completely. Instead, we needed an alternative avenue and deeper dive. After multiple testing, we found out that our daughter was intolerant to a number of foods, and in particular, dairy, and that was causing a number of other problems and in particular, many ear infections. But as she was a baby whenever this developed, how could she tell us of her physical ailments? We took her off dairy, boosted all of the vitamins and minerals she was lacking and then started the LiFT Programme which essentially repaired the damage that had been caused by repeated ear infections, and then more – – something more – – it joined something in her brain together, click, made it all work.

The results were immediate. After her first session in the LiFT Programme, she said her first sentence. I was there with my mother whenever it happened and once again, the floodgates opened, but this time for joy. I knew she was going to be ok. She in now in her second year in a highly competitive and academic mainstream school. The teachers have no idea about her start in life but we have been told that she is a very bright little girl and very, very popular in the class.

It’s almost hard to believe a couple of years previously we were faced with a possible autistic child, who could not speak and lived in her own world. Karen O’ Conor, our Fairy Godmother and her amazing team had done the impossible – she waved her wand and made the nightmare go away. God bless them all and the outstanding work they do.”

Jack

3 year old who had a Severe Global Developmental Delay

Jack had been diagnosed with a severe global developmental delay.  After two weeks of a home listening programme Jack’s mum described how he had changed.

“He is more content, he likes walks in his buggy again, sings or chats along, likes drive in the car as well and generally he’s chatty most of the day.  He is babbling again, mama, baba, sometimes he tries to imitate words when I emphasize some word. He sleeps well through the night, last few nights he hasn’t woke up at all during night.  He started drinking for longer, previously I would stop him after 2-3 sips, but now he holds my hand when I hold the beaker and controls how many sips he has, and it could be 5-7.

On iPad he started playing his puzzles and matching apps again. He is managing to stand up against the coffee table by himself, if he is well positioned. From being on tummy he is managing get himself into all 4, by pulling the knees towards his tummy.  He started doing side walk beside coffee table, just like that, and myself and physio have been trying to make him do it without success for the last few months.  Finally as you could see on the video, he started crawling. I am not sure if you have expected to see all that after 2 weeks, we certainly haven’t and we are over the moon.

Note also that in the 2nd week of the Listening Therapy with bone conduction headsets, we have started doing the Bio-med gut programme, which means that he was taking some antibiotics and anti-fungals, to kill off bad things in his gut.  We are finished with antibiotics today, and still have few more anti-fungals, and after that we are back to usual supplements on clean gut.  Maybe we could give small credit to the gut programme, but we believe that most of the success is thanks to the Listening Therapy.

I am wondering how would Karen explain such big changes in Jack? I would love to know what has happened there? It looks as if music has unlocked him to do things that he was already able to do, but was somehow blocked from doing.  From the start of New Year I am convinced that he is ready and has the strength to crawl, but we couldn’t make it do it, even when we tried facilitated crawling with two pairs of hands.”

Shea

8 year old with ASD

Shea is an 8 year old boy who was diagnosed with autism. His Dad thanks The Child Development Centre for the positive social change they’ve encouraged in his son.

“Just wishing you and everybody a merry Christmas and happy new year and to say Shea is getting on great, a massive difference in all areas.  He is so much more alert and happy and actually telling us what’s going on at school and that he used to be ready for school himself at about half 8 which was good but now he has breakfast and himself ready for just after 8.

He has more homework now and he is coping great with it, He used to wait until I came home from work but now he starts it in kitchen when he comes home and if he needs help with anything he will ask his mum.

We are over the moon with results so far as this past few weeks he is just a different child so Thank you.”

Eoin

5 year old with Verbal Dyspraxia

Eoin is a 5 year old boy who was diagnosed with Verbal Dyspraxia.

“When we started at The Child Development Centre, our son couldn’t say a single sound! He was four years old at the time. Now a year later he is producing sentences of 4 words and more…and it’s all because of the CDC team’s knowledge, experience and the LiFT programme.”

“If you trawl the internet as we did you will read all those terrible stories about children with verbal dyspraxia or even apraxia in our case as our son didn’t have a sound and how it can take a lot of therapy and so long to even make small changes and that children may not achieve full flowing speech! We were terrified that our son wouldn’t talk but thankfully we found the team at The Child Development Centre. As you can imagine we had been to see so many professionals by the time we found Karen and her team that we were losing hope but Karen was so positive about our son and explained things so well to us that we just felt we could trust her and that she and her team had the knowledge and experience that our son needed. We started on a home programme of Therapeutic Listening straight away combined with some other sensory programmes that were recommended. We saw changes within the first week of starting the music and as the weeks progressed so did Eoin.”

“We couldn’t believe it. He started to move his mouth more, started to imitate actions and body movements which he hadn’t been able to do before and then about eight weeks into the programme he started to imitate some of our sounds. We were thrilled and Karen explained how the music was working on Eoin’s nervous system and improving his motor planning for movements and speech. After about 12 weeks of Therapeutic Listening, Karen recommended that we do an intensive LiFT programme. This brought Eoin’s skills in so many areas to a whole new level. Not only did his speech improve and he started to use more sounds and combine sounds to make a couple of words but his coordination and movement in general was better. He was listening better and his understanding improved. We did a LiFT boost after that and Eoin is improving all the time. Now a year later Eoin is using sentences of 4 words and sometimes more ….something that we couldnt have imagined a year ago! Thank you so much to all the team at The CDC!”

Daniel

5 year old with ASD and Developmental Delay

The difference in Daniel after his first intensive LiFT session was huge, as Daniel’s mother explains below.

“My son has a diagnosis of Autism and Developmental Delay among other things.  He looked perfect but operated in his own world not wanting to follow and play in the games of other children.”

“In 2013, we did our first intensive session (The LiFT) with Karen and The Child Development Centre in Galway.  Straight away I saw a change.  When I called my son, he would now stop, turn around and acknowledge me. He might not do what was asked but he now heard. Since then, we have done subsequent boosts with Karen.  Each time our son progressed showing noticeable signs of improvement.

Daniel was initially isolated, defiant and frustrated.  Today Daniel is a happy, content boy who loves to play and interact with other children.  He is very sociable, caring and has a great sense of fun and humour. A big change! Karen and her team have been instrumental in this change and a very important piece of the jigsaw in getting Daniel to where he is now. I can safely say they have done great things for Daniel and us.  Thank you!”

Sophie

6 year old with a Developmental Language Disorder

Sophie’s parents discuss the therapies Sophie underwent at The Child Development Centre and the support they and Sophie received throughout.

“Karen O’Connor and her team at The Child Development Centre have worked with our daughter for the past year, helping her with her speech & language difficulties, using a combination of speech & language therapy approaches and sensory integrative techniques particularly sound-therapy. We will be forever grateful to everyone at the Clinic particularly Karen who helped us on this truly remarkable journey.

Firstly we completed a programme of Therapeutic Listening followed by an intensive in-clinic LiFT programme. Our little girl loved every minute of it! Her  speech and her confidence blossomed very quickly. She has just started in primary school and is doing really well. I want to thank Karen for being a pioneer in her field, for going the extra mile to make a considerable difference in so many childrens’ lives. Great attention and care went into every step of this programme and that is what made the difference.  Music was truly the key to unlocking our daughter’s potential and we will be forever grateful.”

Conor

2.5 year old with ASD

Conor was diagnosed with ASD at the 2.5 years old. Conor’s mum discusses the changes sessions with Karen have brought, following a number of failed efforts elsewhere.

“Conor had been receiving various interventions since the age of 17 months.  Throughout this time we had seen some small progress but frequent regressions and we were very concerned about our son’s future which was looking bleaker as time moved on.  Conor started attending Karen O’Connor at the Child Development Centre in October 2013. We were immediately impressed by Karen’s holistic approach in her work with Conor.”

As well as using Speech Therapy and OT techniques, Karen’s focus on listening therapy and biomedical interventions made sense to us as parents of a child with ASD. Karen was very honest with us about Conor’s potential and set realistic goals for him.  While initially the intensity of the programmes felt at times overwhelming, Karen’s belief in his potential and her availability to provide support to us has given us the confidence to fully commit to her recommendations.

After only two months, we have seen significant improvements in Conor.  For the first time in his short life, he has begun initiating communication with us. His range and frequency of sounds has increased considerably and he has a noticeably greater awareness of and interest in his environment. He is happier and more settled in himself and is sleeping better at nightEvery day we are observing gains in our son and we are very proud of his achievements. For the first time since he was a small baby, we are feeling excited and positive about his future.”

James

6 years old originally diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder

6 year old who no longer has a diagnosis of Speech & Language Disorder (now referred to as Developmental Language Disorder).

“Our son had been attending regular speech & language therapy for two years but he didn’t make any progress until he started music therapy!
We thought he just wasn’t smart enough, bright enough and that’s why he wasn’t making progress. Thankfully friends of ours told us about The Child Development Centre and recommended that we go. They explained how their son had had a diagnosis of Specific Language Disorder (now referred to as Developmental Language Disorder) but after doing the LiFT programme he no longer met the criteria for DLD!”

“We were shocked as we had been told by speech & language therapists in the public system that it was going to be a life-long difficulty for our son. So we brought our son to meet Karen and her team at the CDC. We were a bit dubious at first as Karen was so positive about our son’s potential. This was the first time that we had heard this from a professional. Other speech & language therapists had been so negative about James, explaining that James would always have difficulties. Karen disagreed completely explaining that DLD could be resolved fully in many cases by using sound therapy and more specifically the LiFT. She went on to talk about how the music has been adapted to impact on the individual’s neurology and therefore impacting on the neuroplasticity of the brain.”

“So to cut a long story short we did a full 30-day LiFT programme with James and saw huge changes! Everyone commented on the great progress he made even his Speech & Language Therapist in the public system. Six months later we did a 15-day LiFt boost programme and this was like the icing on the cake for James. He is doing so well. He no longer needs any form of speech therapy. He is in the top five children in his class in terms of performance. He doesn’t need any additional help. It is a very different outcome to what many professionals told us would happen but is exactly what Karen said. Now we could see our son’s true potential!”

Mark

6 year old who no longer has an ASD diagnosis

Mark is a 6 year old boy who had been diagnosed with ASD.

“The LIFT programme changed our son’s life forever. He was given a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder at 3 years of age. Three years and a number of LiFTs later, he no longer meets the criteria for ASD! We were so shocked when our son Mark was given a diagnosis of ASD. We knew he wasn’t meeting some of his milestones and he wasn’t talking but we didn’t think he had autism. When Mark was diagnosed we were put on a waiting list for a specialised preschool where he would get additional help and support. He received limited help from the public system in terms of speech therapy and occupational therapy. It was so hard to see our son struggling so much and receiving so little help. We feared for the future for him!”

“We decided to look for additional help to try to get our son moving in the right direction while we were waiting for his specialised preschool placement to come up. We were so lucky to have come across the team at The Child Development Centre. Their level of knowledge and experience in the field of ASD was way beyond anything we had heard up until then and we were shocked to hear Karen say that she didn’t believe our son had ASD. She went on to explain that his difficulties were much more typical of a child with dyspraxia with underlying sensory processing difficulties. We started a home programme of sound-therapy combined with other sensory approaches straight away and began to see improvements within weeks. We met with the CDC every month and they reviewed Mark’s progress adding in the next part of his programme. Month by month we could see our son changing, improving in front of our eyes! He was more present, more with us, calmer, listening better, verbalising more and starting to engage even more. We did a series of LiFT programmes intermixed with Therapeutic Listening programmes as guided by the team at the CDC and now 3 years later our son was recently reassessed by a local psychologist and he no longer meets the criteria for ASD! We are thrilled! We never thought this was possible! Our son is doing well in mainstream school. He still has some issues around coordination so we attend an OT for that but all-in all he is doing great and its all thanks to the great team at the CDC! Thank you so much.”