Helping Domonic Noonan find his voice

Emma Noonan, from Barrack Heights, with her twin boys Joshua and Domonic, 8. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Emma Noonan, from Barrack Heights, with her twin boys Joshua and Domonic, 8. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Barrack Heights mother Emma Noonan is hoping the community can help give her son a voice.

Eight-year-old Domonic loves music and can often be heard humming along to his favourite nursery rhymes, yet he's never uttered a single word.

Mrs Noonan said her son may never speak but she is trying to raise funds for a device that will at least help him communicate with those he loves - including his twin brother Joshua.

Through an online fund-raising campaign she has raised $500 of the $7000 needed to buy a Liberator voice-output device which will slowly teach Domonic to communicate independently and spontaneously.

"The boys were born eight weeks early and I knew for a long time that Domonic was autistic but he was formally diagnosed with severe autism and a global developmental delay at age two," she said.

"He can't speak or communicate in the usual ways and he gets very frustrated when we don't know what he's trying to tell us - it's frustrating for us too.

"I think this device would give him more freedom and independence, would help him better communicate his needs and allow him to better interact with his brother too."

The single mother is not able to work as she has to attend to Domonic's needs. The little boy has sensory issues and cannot stand the public spaces his peers love - like shopping centres, movie theatres, playgrounds and parks.

"He's eight, but he's like a one-year-old and he can't be left alone for one minute," Mrs Noonan said.

"While I don't think he'll ever speak, I think he will be better able to learn and progress with a device like this.

"When he wants to 'eat' or take a 'bath' or 'jump' on the trampoline, he can just show us rather than us having to guess - it will ease a lot of his anxieties."

The device allows parents or carers to slowly add different words, and combinations of words, to increase the user's vocabulary and comprehension.

"It will also help us with some basic things - like helping him with toilet training," she said.

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VIDEO: This is what autism looks like in toddlers

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