Age: 4
Provincial Riding: Ottawa West - Nepean
This is Rylan. Rylan is nearly five years old and is brilliant, funny and very charming. He is my world and can be the sweetest little boy youíve ever met. In 2015, just before Rylan turned two, I knew that something was different with him. His speech wasnít where it should be for his age and his pediatrician referred us to First Words. They referred us to OCTC who then referred us to Occupational Therapy, Speech therapy and a developmental pediatrician at CHEO. All of this shuffling us around finally led to a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in June of 2017. Two years, it took two years just to get a diagnosis for my son. You would think that at this point we are receiving supports, right? Wrong. We walked out with a diagnosis and a stack of applications for programs that take years to receive help from. He has behaviour issues, sensory issues and is a flight risk, this means at any moment his body can be thrust into fight or flight mode and his instincts tell him to flee, he has no sense of danger during these times. I go to bed every night terrified for my sonís future, what school will be like for my little boy or god forbid gets hit by a car because he doesnít understand ďdangerĒ, because without therapy this is our reality. I am a single mother who works full time and am living with my parents because I need support in looking after Rylan, I canít afford to do private therapy for my son, even though he desperately needs it. While we wait for therapies I was offered services through ďMomentumĒ however, these programs are not enough because they arenít personalized for your child and my son, like all children, is unique. A one size fits all band-aid solution that is based on his age or my income isn't enough, our kids deserve better. They deserve clinically based therapy that is based on what that one child needs. Not a program that gives out a tiny amount of funding based only on the childís age and parents income. I donít know what the new program will be like but I do know that itís NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

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