Ruby was diagnosed with ASD the week of her 3rd Birthday after having waited 15 months for an assessment at our local children's hospital. It shouldn't have been a shock but yet it still was. We were 8 months pregnant with Ruby's brother at the time so it was a busy time. We surged ahead with the mountain of paperwork and made sure she was on all the lists. We also enrolled her in Nursery school right away which was something she had never done. While that was ultimately a good primer for school for her it was all of a sudden abundantly clear how far behind she was in comparison to other children her age. She didn't have to wait too long for some blocks of Speech therapy, at this point words were coming slowly but she spoke using one word at a time. We were able to have some consultation with an OT and within a year she received her first block of ABA therapy through our regional Provider. It was a 1 hour session each week for 7 weeks and we had chosen "Behaviour" to work on as Ruby was far from compliant and we were having a hard time with her rigidity around almost everything. The block of ABA albeit very short did give us some good strategies that made life a little easier but ultimately Ruby still needed help. We did our best to take her places and push through but often, excursions did not end well and were anxiety provoking for us to say the least.
Ruby started school the following year and that was a bit of a roller coaster ride, we were still waiting for IBI and receiving occasional blocks of Speech and ABA. After a 2 and a half year wait Ruby's name finally came up on the waitlist and she started IBI with our regional Provider. Within a month she was speaking in more and more sentences and her problem behaviours were greatly reduced. Unfortunately, in her 2nd month into IBI, the Liberal govt announced their plan of only allowing IBI to kids under 5, Ruby was now over 5 and a half and would start transitioning out. This was devastating news, she had waited so long and was making such great progress. For the next few months Parents all over the province protested and fought this new program and luckily the gov't eventually removed the age cap. Ruby remained at our regional Provider for the next year (in what was not really IBI but more of a school readiness program which was a good program but really did not give her any 1 on 1 therapy to work on any personal goals) before being transitioned out into the new Ontario Autism Program, just last year. She has been in the OAP receiving funding for part time ABA for 10 months now, mainly working on problem behaviours. She is doing fairly well at school in a regular classroom but control and self regulation issues hold her back and she ends up requiring a great deal of support to get through her day. She's very smart and so full of joy, if she was able to get a handle on her self regulation, the sky would be the limit on what she could accomplish! The proposed changes to the OAP would mean we would be able to afford1/8th of the amount of already part time therapy she is doing now. We don't see Ruby requiring ABA forever but she does need more intervention now so that hopefully she will require less support in school and life later. She has so much potential and has worked so hard and we just don't want to that all lost. All our kids deserve the chance.