The diagnosis of Autism was followed by a flurry of activity. Hardly a day went by that we didn't have an appointment, received a phone call or met with some sort of specialist. We restated Sophie's entire life history countless times, eagerly latching on to any promise of help. We had felt helpless ourselves and were still hopeful that someone will come in and devise a "fix Sophie plan" which will yield immediate and profound results. However after speaking to each sympathetic yet visibly overburdened worker we began to realize there was no such plan. Each phone call interview placed Sophie on a wait list spanning a couple months to over a year long. Everything we read stressed "early intervention". How is that to happen if she is to wait optimistically a year, realistically closer to two for IBI, apparently THE autism therapy method?
I suppose that many parents resort to dipping into the bank account and opting for private therapy. Unfortunately that is not realistic for us. At the same time we do wonder if we really want her to be drilled for 40 hours a week, rewarded with a tidbit of food for each socially appropriate gesture she is able to replicate. Perhaps in this case the waiting list is a blessing, buying her some more time to just "be", regardless how unproductive her just being is seen as through the prism of ABA.
|Sophie being Sophie|
However, even in this seemingly bleak purgatory of bureaucracy and wait lists, we did meet some wonderful and dedicated ladies who will begin working with Sophie in a more timely matter. We have met with the speech therapist previously and the occupational therapist today. Both seem to "get" Sophie, the OT especially. They gave us useful pointers which we will definitely implement in our own little home-run Autism centre. On good days I think we are doing well. But on not-so-good days I worry that we are missing the critical period, that we should be striking while her neurons are hot so to speak. I have a feeling though that there would always be self-doubt, no matter what we did.