Age: 5
Provincial Riding: York - Simcoe
When my Son was a baby I started to notice things that were a little different from the stages my daughter had gone through. He didn't love to snuggle, he didn't make alot of eye contact, his sleep was so speratic, he was very picky with the textures of baby foods he would eat, he had no fear and he went from saying Momma and Dadda to not saying anything. I brought concerns to my Doctor many times and she would just tell me "he will grow out if it, he is just a baby." He started to have severe issues with constipation and was seen by a pediatrition at 1 and a half who was very concerned about his lack of language. She asked me to call York Region Speech and Language so I did. They booked him in and started down the path of unhelpful programs. First my husband and I had to take a course called more than words. The program was free but the text books were extremely expensive and we had to go all the way to NewMarket to take this course. We finished the course and then Tegan was able to be involved in a group Session of speech therapy. We then waited another 6 months and he was hooked up with an early interventionist. We would meet once every other month at the office in Keswick where Tegan and I would play and notes would get taken. The interventionist helped fill out Tegans paper work for a DACCs assessment and he then waited another 6 months for another group speech therapy session. In the mean time I took the beyond more than words program and triple p parenting courses. These still did not help my baby. Tegan was diagnosed with ASD and a speech problem. We then started to see his interventionist once a month and I contacted Kerry's place and took every course they had possible. I asked for help from my interventionist with private occupational therapy private speech therapy anything to help my son. I would get given big lists of people's names to contact and then be told they have waitlists anyways so just continue with the York region program. Tegan and I worked extremely hard together from such a young age and had no help with anythig! He was waitlisted at a time that he greatly needed all supports on hand. He was offered one more speech session before he started school where he was paired with another child. Tegan did not do well in this setting so the speech therapist started to work less and less with Tegan and focused more on the other child that I ended up just never brining him back. Right before Tegan transitioned to school he got a new interventionist and had no help throughout that summer at all! I signed him up for school and begged the school to let him into the building blocks for kindergarten program and they did! He did great and was looking so forward to school. He then received a letter in the mail that he had been discharged from the York region program and I was never contacted again by anyone in regards of what to do now with helping my son. He is now 5 and a half and we have wasted so much time in the most important stages of his life. I keep thinking about how different things could have been if he was a priority in someone's eyes other than my own how much further along he would be right now. He struggles everyday to do what is expected of him, in a regular classroom with no support. He does things he shouldn't because he never learned the social expectations, the rules, how to process his thoughts, how to deal with his sensory processing, or how to deal with behaviour. I have done and tried everything as a Mom that I could and.most days I go to bed crying wishing that their was more I could do to help him. The new OAP will not really affect my Son as we have never received supports and still aren't receiving any. I think we truly need a whole new way of helping babies, children, youth and adults when they are diagnosed. I am very thankful to see a light at the end of the tunnel where my little man will finally be able to receive some sort of supports although it is way too little too late. I know how seriously this new funding will affect children who are already in programming, but ALL children should be able to have the same funding, care, supports available all the time! No more waitlists! The funding the government is offering us parents in not near the amount any child would need for proper services to help their child, youth or adult. The OAP program needs severe changes, and a chance for each person to have successful supports and services to better their quality of life. We need needs based services that are covered, we need no more waitlists and we need proper guidance and support as these diagnosis are happening when all of our families lives are flipped upside down learning how to best help ourselves and our babies to navigate this unfair system. Thank you for taking the time to read Tegan's story. I hope with everything in me that the changes ALL people on the spectrum truly deserve happen sooner than later.

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