Dunsborough family thank Variety for 'life changing' gift

Occupational therapist Steph Gordon, Olivia McDonnell and Jenna McDonnell with sensory hammock provided by Variety WA. Image Sophie Elliott.
Occupational therapist Steph Gordon, Olivia McDonnell and Jenna McDonnell with sensory hammock provided by Variety WA. Image Sophie Elliott.

Life for Dunsborough’s Olivia McDonnell and her family has been made a little bit easier thanks to Variety WA.

Six-year-old Olivia, who lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder, has received a lycra hammock swing and cocoon sensory haven from the charity.

Olivia’s occupational therapist, Stephanie Gordon from Busselton’s Potential Therapy Services, explained Olivia processed sensory information differently to others and needed more movement and input through her muscles to feel calm and focused.

“Without this calming input or when she doesn’t get enough movement or deep pressure it is very difficult for her to participate in all the things she loves and to stay regulated,” she said.

“The equipment which Variety purchased for Olivia provides a functional and independent way for Olivia to get the sensory input she needs to feel safe and calm and also to escape the sensory world which at times can be overwhelming for her.

Olivia’s mum Jenna said the positive impact of the equipment was life changing for the family.

“The changes we’ve seen are incredible,” she said.

“She can now get the input she is craving and rather than have an explosive moment she can go use the equipment.

“She has come so far since working with Steph and visiting the sensory gym – having these things at home is life changing for Olivia and all of us.”