Ava and her older sister Emma both have autism and are non-verbal.
Ava has been luckier than her older sister and has been able to attend an IBI centre for 2 years (gradually working up to 35 hours a week).
She has made amazing gains.
Before she started IBI, she was dependent on us for every aspect of life, from feeding, to dressing, to toileting, to even social interaction with peers and adults she did not know.
Ava was also very emotional and struggled with self-regulation.
She would get frustrated very easily and at times would bang her head against surfaces.
Here are some of her achievements since she started IBI:
- Ava answers to her name and comes when she is called.
- She now can feed herself (with a spoon and fork), can tolerate different cups and can even use a straw for drinks
- With very minimal assistance, she can remove and put on her shoes, socks, pants and coat
- She follows many simple commands like: Come and sit..Wash your hands..Wipe your face..Throw this out..Pick this up
- She is making all different types of sounds and has said "Mom and Dad"
- She interacts MUCH more with peers, us and her sister and actually pushes her to be more social, as her sister tends to be more withdrawn
- She still struggles with self-regulation, but her tantrums have lessened dramatically.
Ava's centre has also adapted her feeding program to increase her tolerance of fresh fruit and expand her diet. They also ensure she drinks lots of water, as she suffers from severe constipation and becomes dehydrated easily. They are also helping with toilet training (which both her and sister desperately need help with).
On April 29th, Ava's Behaviour Plan EXPIRES and she will be forced to attend school full time, as the funding she will receive, as a result of the new OAP, will not cover more than 2 months of therapy.
We are afraid that she will regress in her skills, as the support she currently gets (1 to 1) cannot be matched in schools.
We are heartbroken for both our beautiful girls (see Emma's story).
And as teachers, we are also angered by the changes to the current Education System and the tsunami of kids that will be entering the schools in April.
Boards/Teachers are NOT READY FOR THIS!
Teachers are NOT THERAPISTS!
1 PA day of training or 1 AQ course cannot replace the years of training and experience my daughter's therapists have.
Please pause/rethink your plan and consider the many families that will be impacted by it.