This is our amazing, beautiful and entertaining son Colton. Although around 18mth of age he could do puzzles, knew his colours, sort objects into appropriate categoreis and he could count to 10 his pediatrician noticed some "red flags" for Autism (little to no eye contact, no engagement or joint attention with others and a severe speech delay) and about a year later he received his official diagnosis. Colton will be 5 years old in April and is currently on the OAP waitlist. He has missed the very crucial early years of intensive behavioural therapy. We have & will continue to work hard, advocate for him and do whatever we possibly can (go to parent info & training sessions, take Colton to as many community events as possible, take advantage of any and all therapy available to us even if its just a few hours, take all strategies and exercises home and continue to work with colton etc). Colton has been fortunate enough to receive a few blocks of speech and occupational therapy over the past 2 years and he has come a very long way but we often wonder how much further could he be right now with intensive behavioural therapy? How much less stressful and frustrating could everyday life be for Colton?
Yes, he is still waiting for therapy on the current OAP and waiting for who knows how much longer - it was problematic of course. But now we know he will not receive the therapy he not only needs but deserves because the new OAP simply will not provide us the assistance or services our family requires. I am not only concerned that the new OAP will only cover a very small fraction of the cost of therapy but I am also gravely concered that there simply wont be enough therapists to provide the services. Are we only being off loaded from one waitlist to sit on another? Colton can only reach his fullest potential with all of our help.
What is going to happen at school going forward? He loves school and we are extremely fortunate with the teaching team he has. They are amazing! But they have already seen their already scarce resources stretched incredibly thin at his school. His class (who has other identified special needs students as well) has already lost their EA this year. I am terrified Colton is going to fall between the cracks.
Colton has the most amazing memory, he loves to sing and dance, can reenact scenes from a movie he has only seen once and is the most expressive and loving little man. How do we help him reach his fullest potential? The new OAP is falling drastically short of helping us please stand with us and voice your concerns. Help us help our children be the best version of themselves that they can be.