This is Ferguson, he is 2 years old and he has Autism, just like his big brother (5 years old).
Autism is a family trait for us. Ferguson's older brother also has Autism. His big brother had a long and arduous journey towards his diagnosis, so when Ferguson started to show the same behavioural patterns as his brother, I knew what I needed to do. Ferguson was lucky. He was also being followed by a pediatrician for other health concerns, so we were able to have her complete assessments and ultimately diagnose him at 22 months old with high functioning autism. He was placed onto the OAP wait list in August 2018.
Since Ferguson is so young, his needs are still revealing themselves. Like his big brother, Ferguson is not a good candidate for ABA. He has communication challenges and has recently accessed publicly funded speech therapy, but he has extensive sensory needs.
He is over sensitive to light and sound, yet under sensitive to pain and touch. He has near super human pain tolerance, which means he will battle infections and injuries for weeks before we realize that he is in pain. He is a sensory seeker that goes to the extreme to get the sensory input he needs, which often involves dangerously running into hard surfaces and pulling out his own hair (or mine).
He has a fierce temper and is often triggered by the world around him. A world that is not made for him, a world that doesn't understand him.
He is also an incredibly sweet, dangerously clever, and ultimately loving little boy. A little boy that is desperately trying to make sense of a world that he can't properly interact with.
In theory, under the new OAP, he will gain access to a larger sum of money then his big brother. Except, due to the sliding scale, he will qualify for very little. What he does receive will ultimately be useless to us as we won't be able to access the supports he needs most (occupational therapy and speech therapy).
The new program is deeply flawed and needs to be based on the unique needs of each child, not on their age or income. Neither age nor income reflects the true needs of each child.
Under this new program Ferguson will be lost. Please don't let this happen.