Michael Chimchak

Age: 3
Provincial Riding: Sudbury
My name is Angele Jetty, I am the mother of 2 wonderful boys Matthew 5 and Michael 3. Our autism journey begins last fall when Michael was 2 and a half years old and he began to cover his ears all the time when he heard loud noises like the blender or the vacuum. Also every time he learned new words he lost some as well. We brought him in to see the family doctor as we assumed he must have a hearing problem and it was at that appointment that we first heard the word autism. I thought our world had just fallen apart. We soon learned the importance of early diagnosis so he can get on a wait list for services. We paid $1500 to have him assessed privately as this wait list was over 18 months. Michael was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism with a global developmental delay, it was recommended he should receive 35-40 hours a week of Intensive Behavioural Intervention. We also learned at this time that the wait list time was 2 and half to 3 years so we made the decision to seek a private provider. The recommended 35-40 hours a week would cost us around $90 000 a year so we have made the tough decision to use his entire education fund that was graciously given to us by his grandparents as well as clear out our retirement fund and only have him do half the recommended time which is 20 hours a week of therapy. Michael has now been in therapy for over a month and the changes in this short time are remarkable, he no longer needs to be put in a stroller when going out in public like the grocery store or the doctors, he just holds our hand which is a huge deal for us. He is also using one and two word commands for things he wants like "open door" , "want juice", "want apple" "where's mommy", it's absolutely amazing and I can't wait to see what the next month and next year will bring with this therapy. It was a really tough decision that we had to make but could not imagine what his future would look like if we hadn't. The downside to this is that we only have so much money saved up and this money will only go so far, the new Ford plan will only give us $20 000 a year which is nowhere near the amount that is required for Michael to continue to access the proper treatment that he needs.

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