From a Family With a Recently Diagnosed Child
Our daughter was diagnosed with autism in February, 2014 at the age of 30 months. It took concerned family members, speech delay (and loss) and a noticeable difference when interacting (or rather, not interacting) with her peers for us to bring our concerns to our pediatrician. Fortunately, she was seen by the Child Development Clinic fairly quickly. Her diagnosis felt like the end of a journey, but we now realize it was only the beginning.
At the assessment & diagnosis appointment, we were schedule for a “Let’s Get Started” appointment – an introduction for parents to this new world. The earliest date available was 4 months away!
Not wanting to wait, I quickly took on the task of learning as much as I could about autism and what services our daughter would need. I was ready to jump right in to work with her and give her the best start possible – after all, everything I read indicated that early intervention was vital and that the preschool years were the ones where the most benefit from services would be seen. It only took a couple of weeks for my enthusiasm to be met with reality. We were at a stalemate.
At the time of her diagnosis, we were referred to Children’s disABILITY services. At the beginning of March I received a call confirming that they had our file and that we were on a waiting list for a Child Development Counsellor and a Family Services Worker. No time estimate was given for the former, but I was warned that the wait for a Family Services Worker (the one who could refer us to other services, including respite) was currently 3 years for our area. So, we wait.
After diving into all of the information I could find, we were sure of which therapy option was right for our daughter and our family. The Floortime/DIR therapy approach would allow us to work directly with our daughter, build our relationship with her and naturally support her speech development – our biggest concern for now. Not wanting to wait for the information session on the choice between Autism Outreach & St. Amant’s ABA program a month later, I contacted Autism Outreach directly and submitted our application. We are now waiting to be accepted into the program and to begin to receive their training and support in order to work with our daughter ourselves. So, we wait.
We were also referred for speech therapy through WRHA services and fortunately already have our first appointment set for the middle of May (just a 3 month wait). At the end of March, we received confirmation that we were on the waiting list for occupational therapy through Society for Manitobans with Disabilities – no timeframe given. So, we wait.
We are fortunate that I am at home and able to work with my daughter myself, using what information I can glean from other parents and from online sources. This is more than many families can do while waiting.
All we can hope for is that we will receive some guidance and support while it can benefit her the most! Until then…. we wait.