Born prematurely and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Aston Capper developed dysphagia, a swallowing disorder that restricted his ability to eat and drink.
Soon after Aston celebrated his second birthday, his mum, Morgan, became concerned about his swallowing. Whenever he drank, he would start to gasp, and his eyes would glaze over. He also wasn’t sleeping properly, and his weight was dangerously low.
Morgan’s growing concerns led her to a speech pathologist, who conducted a full analysis of Aston’s swallow. The speech pathologist recommended drinking thickened fluids, suggesting a thickening powder called instant THICK.
To Morgan’s surprise, instant THICK was manufactured locally in Brisbane by a company called Flavour Creations. She was even more surprised to find herself speaking to the founder and CEO, Bernadette Eriksen, when she called the company with her initial inquiry about their thickening powder.
“She was just so warm and welcoming. She wanted to know everything about Aston and his dysphagia. She showed incredible compassion from the outset and the hands-on support that she offered continues to this day,” Morgan explains.
A few weeks after that first call, Morgan and her husband Brenton had a boisterous little boy who was eating and drinking again.
“We could monitor Aston safely processing his fluids once they were thickened,” Morgan said. “The increase in fluid meant we could do more therapy, as he had a lot more energy to do more things because he wasn’t so dehydrated all the time.”
Aston had struggled to drink 250 millilitres per day pre-diagnosis, but after instant THICK was introduced to his diet, he was drinking up to a litre a day.
As we write this, on a beautiful summer’s day in a bayside playground, Aston is playing with his beloved construction toys in the sandpit. Full of cheeky grins and impish giggles, he pours sand from a digger into a dump truck while murmuring “beep, beep, screeeech, ruuurrrump” under this breath.
“He’s thriving, my child, and both Brenton and I are just so happy,” Morgan beams.
Like many 4-year-olds, Aston is obsessed with anything construction-related.
“He loves diggers, trackers and dump trucks. Anything that can create noise or mess, he’s into.”
But next year Aston’s world will shift into a bigger gear as he embarks on his ‘big school’ journey for five days a week.
“I think Mummy’s more worried about it than Aston is,” Morgan says. “He’ll be fine, though, because he’s such a social butterfly.”