My name is Adriana and I am the mother of a 2.5 year old autistic boy named Antonio.
He's affectionate, sweet, smiles constantly and loves his toy cars and his twin sister.
When he was diagnosed October of 2018, my life changed forever. I cried, a lot. When I realized that crying wouldn't help my son I sprung into action. I educated myself, i reached out to the available services recommended and through that I learned about ABA/IBI therapy and how important it was to initiate this therapy. Being as young as he is I knew his little brain would be a sponge and that this type of intervention would be so beneficial for him. Our luck was that they caught it early.
I was told there was a wait list, but only after I began calling did I understand how long these wait lists were. I was devastated that my baby couldn't get in right away to get the help he so desperately needed.
I couldnt live with myself knowing this therapy was out there and that I had to sit around and wait for someone to call me to say "ok we've decided your child's life matters now and we can start his therapy" so, I took matters into my own hands and found him private therapy.
Therapy is very expensive. We can only afford 10 hours a week, but '10 is better than 0' and instead of sitting around and waiting, we are doing what we need to do for our son. He started therapy in December 2018 and those 10 hrs a week have been incredible. He's pointing to things he wants, whereas before he would cry, scream or bang his head from frustration of not being able to communicate what he wanted.
He says words and he's using them properly.
He's repeating sounds, pronunciating new words dialy and following simple commands.
This is just the beginning and I can only imagine how much he will change and grow in the next 6 months.
This was our temporary solution, while we waited on the list. We are very very tight on finances and making many sacrifices to be able to afford this therapy that is costing us 2400 a month. The light at the end of the tunnel was the government support that was coming his way. We cant do this on our own for the next 18 years.
The Ford government has now decided that my son wont have to wait anymore (wonderful) BUT will only get a very small amount of financial support until he's 18. That small amount that I've been reading about is basically pennies for my son. Based on our combined incomes, we wont be eligable for more than $4-5000 ANNUALLY.
Proper and effective therapy should be conducted at 30-40 hrs a week, which would mean approx. $6500 a month! A far cry from what we need to help my son thrive. That is what these funds are about; thriving children, helping them cope in day to day life, giving them a chance at a future to maybe one day get a job, live alone, have a family and everything else every single human being deserves. A REAL CHANCE!
This new OAP will now mean that the government is funding 1hr a week of ABA therapy and that my son's chances of a thriving future is being ripped away from under him.
We dont sleep because all we think about is how we are going to help our son for the next 3 years without selling our house or going bankrupt. I say 3 years because I'm hoping he can go to school at 5 but, if he does he may still need support. Who's going to help him in school? A regular teacher with zero experience and 30 other kids to take care of? How is this okay with anyone?
This cant be the future anyone would want for children without a voice. Children with autism need and deserve all the help they can get.
Children are the last place we should be looking to cut funding. They are all we have and what's left behind after we are gone. They are the future of this country.
Pause the plan. Think longer. Think harder. Make a differnet choice foe these innocent children.
Adriana, Antonio's mom, fighter and voice