When Kuljeet Singh and Maia Kawana first took their sons Carlos and Ashwin to McKenzie Centre in Hamilton, they knew they had finally found a safe place for their boys.
After a speech and language therapist assessed the boys, paediatrician David Newman diagnosed them with autism and told Kuljeet and Maia about McKenzie Centre.
Carlos was 3½ and Ashwin was 2.
“We were just typical new parents trying to find answers; we thought Carlos had hearing problems because he had speech delays,” said Maia.
There were so many dismissals “he will grow out of it” or “there’s nothing wrong” and unsuitable alternatives offered.
“They were the band aid they kept putting on the inevitable,” said Kuljeet.
That was until the introduction to McKenzie Centre where they met centre director Trisha Benge and her team.
McKenzie Centre offers early childhood intervention and support for children aged from birth to school age who have a developmental delay or disability, and their whānau.
“I felt McKenzie Centre was a safe place for our children and a safe place for parents,” said Maia.
“The understanding and emotional support was huge, the acceptance and the techniques we were taught, we still use today.”