Our son Josh (who is nine and has Down syndrome) has been working with Sarah and Specialist Therapy Services (STS) for over eight years now. During this time Josh has developed new challenges and needs. STS has been fantastic in responding and changing programmes that fit Josh as he reaches these new challenges, ensuring that he overcomes them and gains success from every programme. The feeling of success and achievement that Josh gets has helped him turn into a confident and willing student and classmate at school. He participates in all aspects of the classroom and is reasonably well understood by teachers, parents and peers. STS have also greatly aided our dealings with the school to ensure they have the necessary skills, support and equipment available before Josh requires it.
Besides the educational and speech programs, Sarah has also been available to help with behavioural problems or over the phone advice. We are very pleased to still be working with STS and wish to pass on our thanks and appreciation to Sarah and her team.

Todd and Nic Bradley

Our son Ryan is now 2.5 years old and has downs syndrome. He had received private therapy since 6 months of age at a specialist centre located Christchurch, however, when at 18months of age this option was no longer possible we sought options closer to home in Auckland.

Sarah Goodall and Specialist Therapy Services came highly recommended by the families of a large number of Ryan’s peer group. We were fortunate to be able to commence Johansson therapy with Sarah in February of this year.

The structure of the programme Sarah offers is very different to anything we had received up to this point. Whilst the play based concept of therapy was beneficial up to 18months, as a mother I was eager for more structure and feedback as to what Ryan was actually taking on board. What Sarah has offered through Specialist Therapy Services has been fantastic - I know as a mother what we ‘ideally’ need to get through in terms of the set programme to meet the objectives, which stops a lot of the parental guilt I was feeling and Ryan, whilst not always receptive has made steady recognisable progress directly attributable to the programmes set.

Our son, who we absolutely adore has proved to have a mind of his own and likes to be in control - a trait that should stand him in good stead further down the track. However, this has not always proved easy in moving through the programme. Where Sarah has been fantastic is that she assesses Ryan, where he is at, what motivates him and manipulates a programme to suit his needs. As Ryan develops and progresses through the various developmental stages these needs change and Sarah has adapted with him. I have been very impressed with this approach.

In summary, I really enjoy our therapy sessions. Sarah has been a wealth of information on any issues we may have been dealing with and I find her direct approach very supportive and encouraging. Ryan is a valued, adorable and much loved member of our family. We have thoroughly enjoyed our unexpected journey with Ryan to date, no doubt in part to the positive support and learning we have all received through Sarah.

I have no hesitation in highly recommending Specialist Therapy Services to anyone wanting the best start in life for their child.

Melanie Mora

We fully endorse the work of Sarah Goodall and her professional and personal therapy service. For a number of years Sarah has visited our house and encouragingly trained my wife and I to effectively communicate with our beautiful down syndrome daughter Milla. Not only has Sarah helped in only our ability to communicate, but how to engage, support and teach Milla to grow in confidence, ability and skill with communication. Milla has grown leaps and bounds with the help of Sarah and her team, and I would fully recommend her services to anyone. Sarah is approachable, reliable, inclusive and inspiring.

Marshall, Rochelle and Little Milla Gray.

Our son, who has just turned 8 years old, has Down Syndrome. Sarah has been working with Ben for the last 4-5 years, and we think her programme is brilliant. We initially tried different speech language therapists and it wasn’t until Sarah started working with Ben that we really noticed a difference. A difference not just for Ben, but also for us as parents. We have learnt that although Ben does have a language delay he can learn anything given the right technique and direction. Ben is being mainstreamed and everyone is amazed at how well he is doing. We owe much of his success to Sarah and the programme she uses.

Robyn Bettany

Working with Sarah has been an invaluable experience. For my husband and I, it has empowered us to know that we are doing our utmost to support our daughter, Eden’s, communication skills. We find the guidance that Sarah offers fantastic, and we have seen wonderful progress in Eden through the programmes that Sarah puts in place, and that we work on at home with her. And Eden is not yet 2 years old!

The therapy that Sarah offers is much more than just learning to speak clearly. As a teacher, I appreciate so much the early literacy skills that are part of what Eden is learning, and the way her attention span has increased as she has learned to focus on a given task for longer periods. Sarah has also built some fine and gross motor activities into the programme at times, when she sees an area that Eden needs to work on. The wealth of knowledge and experience she has in working with children with Down Syndrome is amazing, and she is a great source of ideas for all sorts of things, from managing behaviour to helping Eden develop greater independence.

All of the tasks are well scaffolded, so that what starts as a simple task is gradually built upon becoming increasingly more complex over time. Because of the nature of this type of learning, Eden gets to experience success along the way, success which we as a family, and Sarah as her therapist, love sharing with her. There is nothing more exciting than watching Eden master a previously difficult skill!

Rachael and Troy

Our family was referred to Sarah Goodall and Speech Therapy Services through the UpsideDowns education trust. Our daughter, Annabel, has Down Syndrome and is now 4 years and 10 months old. We have been working with STS in providing their early intervention programme to Annabel for over three years.

We have been extremely impressed with the visible and demonstrative changes this holistic programme delivers. Having attended seminars from visiting international experts in the area of early intervention education, I am convinced the content and components of the STS programme are at the leading edge of global knowledge in this area today.

From all we read, and through our wider contact in the Down Syndrome community, we are certain her development in the areas of speech, language, communication, memory, reading, writing and numbers are all vastly improved through this education programme. It is our hope this will enable Annabel's entry to school to be smoother and more beneficial as a result.

It is comforting to know we are providing our daughter the education which, based on the most current knowledge today, gives her the best chance of reaching her full potential in life. As parents we see this as our responsibility to all of our children. It is reassuring we can provide this to Annabel.

Mark McCutcheon

Sarah Goodall from Specialist Therapy Services has been our son Nikolai’s therapist since he was 9mths old. Nikolai has Down Syndrome and is now almost 3yrs old. At our very first meeting with Sarah one of the things that stood out about her was the potential she saw in Nikolai. To have someone work with your child that is passionate, professional and highly motivated, makes Nikolai’s learning a pleasure. When you have a child with “special needs” it is absolutely strengthening to have a therapist who believes in your child’s ability for achieving through structured learning. The therapy Nikolai receives is a lifeline to what he can achieve.

Jacqui and Brett Piskulic

Its been great to have a planned structured programme with a clear progression to language development, social independence and communication skills to follow since our son was 15 months old. As a parent it gives direction to structuring language acquisition around the known learning strengths of children with Down Syndrome and geared to each individual child. Our son is a true individual, extremely mischievous and difficult to engage in sit still learning tasks. However through the Johansson programme and the focused intervention it provides he has learnt a large range of sounds, vocabulary, concepts and makaton signs. He is slowly gaining more words and clarity, recognising written words and using sign. He certainly understands instructions reinforced with makaton sign making his integration into kindy and now a childcare centre much smoother. Our son is thriving at his own sometimes surprising pace.

Ester and Wynford Lewis

Sarah and STS provide some of the most valuable learning tools that our daughter Molly receives on a regular basis. Her excellent achievement in school and socially has been achieved by using this work and from the training and guidance Sarah has provided teachers, teacher aides and our family. Her service as plays a vital role in helping Molly to integrate into school and society and ultimately living life to her fullest potential.

Drs Lorene and Gary Dennis