Jasmine Butcher, aged 19
Attended Centre from 3.5 months until 4 years
Jasmine arrived into the world, 15 weeks before her due date and weighing only 665 grams at birth. Because research shows that children born this early are at a high risk of developmental delays and disabilities, it is important that their growth and development is closely monitored in the early weeks and months and appropriate therapy provided. Jasmine was therefore referred to the Champion Centre where she and her parents received the level support and advice they needed throughout the pre-school years.
The first day Maree and Norm came to the Champion Centre with baby Jasmine, they found it quite daunting. There were a number of therapists asking them various questions. Maree remembers, just thinking, ‘I just want to get through this first year’.
Jasmine had issues with her left arm and benefitted from input from a physiotherapist who, in partnership with her parents, helped maximise Jasmine’s physical potential. This involved a hands-on session with Jasmine and her parents, including discussion and explanation on how to enhance Jasmine’s physical development through play and appropriate functional activities.
Jasmine’s sessions at the Centre involved both group and 1:1 work. Jasmine was particularly keen on using Reader Rabbit®, computer software that teaches basic skills in reading, identifying shapes, matching objects and letters, counting and using a computer mouse. She struggled with matching things such as patterns and pairs. Jasmine attended Bee’s Knees pre-school, where she also had support from an Education Support Worker from the Champion Centre. Jasmine remembers riding a little bike up and down the Centre hallway around the time she ‘graduated’ and headed to school.
From four and a half years of age, Jasmine was progressing really well and presented no major issues. Her parents have noticed however, that Jasmine does appear to pick up trends a year later, such as socialising with her peers. (As it happened, Jasmine’s milestones were also assessed every few years as part a study into the long-term effects of prematurity, led by Dr Lianne Woodward at the University of Canterbury). Maree feels they were always kept up to date on Jasmine’s progress. They attribute the most important thing the Centre gave Jasmine was getting her off to a good start. ‘By the time she started primary school, she hit the ground running and was ahead of other kids,’ says Maree. Maree and Norm made a conscious decision for Jasmine to attend a larger primary school, that way she was encouraged to make friends, especially as she was an only child.
Fast forward 13 years and Jasmine has just finished her first year studying towards a Bachelor of Degree in Music at the University of Canterbury. She also currently sings in the chamber choir. At the end of primary school, Jasmine took a shine to singing and keyboard lessons soon after. She also took up tap and jazz dancing and piano and singing lessons. While a student at Marian College, Jasmine was involved in drama and the school choir. You could say music and performing arts was in her DNA.
Where does Jasmine see herself in five years? ‘Maybe in the States as a musical theatre performer or on Broadway, either that or I’ll still be living at home saving to go flatting,’ says Jasmine.
The Champion Centre is administered by the Christchurch Early Intervention Trust, and is registered with the Chartities Commission (CC22708). Gifts of over $5 are eligible for tax rebates.
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