Nathan's Story

From Dream World to Real World



Nathan first came to the Developmental Learning Centre aged 9 with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. He had experienced a tough time throughout day-care and school where he was bullied and neglected, and was suffering from huge anxiety levels and developmental delays. Karen Greenfield, Nathan’s mum explains, “It was as though half of him was missing - he was not functioning properly, almost as though he could not hear himself. I didn’t believe the doctors diagnosis of brain damage, I knew he wasn’t living to his full potential.”

Referral to Developmental Learning Centre

Following a recommendation from a retired teacher, Karen decided to bring Nathan in for an assessment with one of the Developmental Learning Centres therapists. She had read about Auditory Retraining Therapy and the impact it could have on children with autistic spectrum disorder. “I was devastated, shocked and elated all at the same time when we received the results of the assessments. To finally get the answers on paper and understand why everything was happening was a huge relief.  I knew as a mum there were things that could be addressed - finally someone understood what we were going through and knew how to help.”

A holistic, natural approach

Nathan began to receive Auditory Retraining Therapy through the use of music therapy and multi-sensory exercises. After just a few sessions, Karen noticed a change in Nathan, “His anxiety levels immediately went down, he became more confident around people, was less sensitive to noises and more engaged in conversations all within a few weeks of starting the therapy”. Travelling from Whakatane each day was tough but with the support of the staff, Karen and Nathan soldiered on. “The team became like family; they were so supportive and understanding. It was such a nurturing environment - I just wanted to take them all home!”

From dream world to real word

The Auditory Retraining Therapy has had a dramatic effect on all aspects of his Nathan’s life and today he is a happy, confident boy with no anxiety. Karen explains, “It’s like someone has plugged in the other half of my son that was missing before. He is learning so well and has gone from a 4-5 year old reading level to a second year intermediate level in just 12 months. Before he lived in an anxious dream world, now you can hold conversations with him about everyday things and we can go anywhere we like – he’s just chilled, regular kid.”

The change has not only affected Nathan’s life significantly but also Karen’s. “Before we found the centre I thought I would be a stay at home mum caring for Nathan my whole life. I couldn’t go to the toilet or put the washing out without Nathan having a panic attack. Now I can go out for hours and I’ve even managed to start my own business.”

Thanks to the team at the Developmental Learning centre, Nathan is achieving his true potential and he is set up for a bright and positive future.


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