We knew that there was something different about Max by 12 months of age. He started missing milestones and we were struggling to get our voices heard by our Pediatrician as she took the wait and see approach. We were sure by 18 months old that it was likely Autism and we started doing what we could to self refer to audiologists, Speech Language therapy, OT and to get him in for an assessment. We finally received a diagnosis at 3 years of age after ruling everything else out and while we were devastated, we were also relieved to know what we were dealing with and to start on the road to help. Max was diagnosed as severe but a good candidate for IBI and we were put on the waitlist. We decided to keep Max at daycare and at home instead of sending him to Junior kindergarten with the support of All Kids Belong through Merrymount family services. In this time we started the getting ready for IBI program through TVCC and prepared to wait for a spot in IBI.
We entered Senior kindergarten for a month and then entered the IBI program for a year. That intensive therapy turned Max from a slightly verbal 5 year od who was not toilet trained and had minimal eye contact into a chatty, toilet trained and engaged 6 year old. Those therapists worked with Max 4 days a week to ascertain how Max learned and what motivated him to learn. This has been invaluable for his future learning and schooling and we still use the skills and information learned from those therapists now - 3 years later. It took 2 and a half months of taking Max ot the toilet every 12 minutes at IBI, school and at home and then a further 2 months of every 20 minutes for him to learn to connect his body and brain. We couldn't have done it without them and we are forever grateful for the help we received from IBI and TVCC.
Max is now full-time in the local primary school and has an EA to help him full time. He needs the help because he struggles with verbal processing and staying focussed and calm. He uses PECS and a number of other strategies to keep him on track and all of the staff are amazing. He is on the wait list for OT because he has a number of issues that require OT support. We currently pay privately to get him help because the wait list is so long. He also receives limited SLP help as he has delayed speech and struggles to pronounce words properly. We have regular meetings with the ASD rep and TOSA from the TVDSB and the school so we can help Ma to succeed in school. He has an IEP which the teacher manages.
Max is happy and valued. His classmates are incredible and have grown up with Max. His presence in their classroom has taught them empathy, tolerance, respect and how to help people when they are struggling. He feels accepted and valued which is what we all deserve. Max needs a team of people and likely always will. We try to live in the moment and not worry about the future too much. This change has lead to an increase in stress to our family and we are extremely worried about the reduction in services. We simply cannot afford to pay for the services that Max currently receives and we worry about the EA support. He cannot succeed without it and it is not fair to him or the staff and students to expect him to. Please help us.