The importance of early intervention
My Plan Manager is putting the spotlight on some incredible humans: parents. Disability affects everyone differently, and no two families are the same. However, parents often play the role of primary carers and #1 advocates in the life of their child that are paving the way to a bright future for them.
In this week’s blog, our parent blogger Paige explains the importance that early intervention has played for her son Oaklan, in her words.
Paige has worked in the disability sector for 10 years, and in many different roles from a support worker to coordinating a children’s respite program. Once her son was diagnosed with Autism, she resigned from her position and put everything she had into finding him the best therapies and supports. She is a fierce advocate for not only her son, but for anyone living with a disability.
Early intervention can be a daunting thought for parents and their children. It can be the first step you take after realizing your child may have a disability.
My son, Oaklan (3) was diagnosed in October 2020 as level 3 on the Autism Spectrum. We knew his diagnosis was coming as he’d been doing monthly therapy sessions through our children’s hospital for nearly his entire life due to a medical condition and development delays, however we weren’t seeing much improvement. Once we received our son’s formal diagnosis, although the severity of it was a hard pill to swallow, it enabled us to access the best therapies and programs that our state has to offer.
I’ll never forget the day he was diagnosed and even though we were expecting it, it was like a knife to the heart. That day, week and even month after was the hardest to navigate; we were in yet another stage of limbo. We were waiting on acceptance into the NDIS, a planning meeting and most importantly an approved plan. It takes time and it wears you down.
There’s so many feelings that come with getting a diagnosis. The guilt you feel as parents is indescribable. You feel so guilty for ‘labeling’ your child and you question every decision. Should we wait another year? Is this the right thing to do? What if he outgrows it? How will this affect the rest of his life?
Then there’s the path of unknown territory. And I want to help you with that because navigating the system with little help is so scary. It can make you feel like you’re failing because finding out waitlists for therapists are years long or even closed is yet another set back in a world that feels full of them. You finally took the leap and got a diagnosis and now you have funding but can’t get into any therapists to help you and your child.
I hear this sad story time and time again.
My biggest piece of advice is the day you book in for your child’s assessment, put your child’s name down on every therapist’s waitlist too. This is because the process from booking an assessment to receiving an approved plan takes about one year so once you’ve had your child’s assessment and been through the NDIS process, they would have climbed that waitlist and should hopefully secure spots soon after you have an approved plan. Then instead of feeling defeated, you’ll feel happy that everything is coming together.
My son was diagnosed nearly a year ago and whilst I’ve had all those feelings of guilt and sadness, and still do somedays, I am so thankful. My little guy has come leaps and bounds after just 8 months of early intervention therapies, we have the most incredible therapy team and our family is so much happier.
Even though seeking a diagnosis is a hard step to take, I believe with my whole being that early intervention is the key that opens up a beautiful world of opportunities for our children with disabilities.
Hi, I’m Paige from Adelaide, Australia. I am a mumma to two beautiful children, Lacey (NT) 6 and Oaklan (ASD L3 ) 3 and a wife to my husband, Sam. Together we enjoy going on adventures whether it be camping, trips to the zoo or soaking up the sun at the beach to name a few.
Oaklan was diagnosed in October 2020 with severe autism, and this inspired me to share our journey with the world. I want to spread knowledge and acceptance for those with special needs and advocate for a more inclusive world. Community inclusion is my passion and something I strive to teach people about within my community.