To start, I would like to give you a history of our autism journey.
Our son with autism was born on Valentine’s Day, 2004. It was going to be either Valentine’s day or Friday the 13th and he chose Valentine’s day.
We first noticed his behaviour start to change around eighteen months. We watched him for a few days and decided it would be a good idea to speak to our pediatrician about autism. Your choice of a pediatrician is vital when it comes to situations like this. The most important thing you need is a pediatrician who will not instantly think you are being hysterical worrywarts. In our case, our pediatrician chose to immediately start setting up tests to see if we were right. There was never any hesitation, no questioning our thoughts, no fuss, it was right down to let’s get to it. In fact, he pretty much suggested that if we could see it, we were probably right.
The tests did not happen overnight. In fact, I believe it took about 6 months for all the results to come back confirming our suspicions. There were now a number of things that had to happen. Our healthcare does not operate quickly, However, over time we set up three therapists at the hospital. We worked to set up a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, and a physiotherapist over a period of time.
At the same time, we also started to look into the concept of ABA therapy. Over the years we have heard controversial things about ABA. It is important to realize that some higher functioning autistics who have been involved in ABA do not support it. However, for our son, it did a lot of good and he made significant progress. It did take a period of initial hesitation but we eventually chose to enroll our son in the ABA program and between the therapists and ABA we started to see some improvements.
In the fall of 2009, our son entered the school system at the kindergarten level and lost his access to not only all the therapists but also to the ABA program. This is a negative of our health system. The health system operates under the belief that the school system can offer the same or similar supports. Unfortunately, this is not normally the case as our education system simply does not have that level of resources. One major benefit here is due to the fact that our son was labelled a high flight risk, in addition to being non-verbal. He was assigned full-time EA coverage which meant that at no time during the day was he ever allowed to be unaccompanied or unsupervised.