Rhonda noticed her second son, Liam, was behaving much differently from her first son at just four months old. It wasn’t until he was 18 months old that he was formally diagnosed as Autistic. She explains, “He was a very quiet baby and wasn’t hitting those same milestones like his older brother. He didn’t smile, or make eye contact. It was hard to find answers.”
Eventually, in 2008, she was referred to Niagara Children’s Centre. Although terrified at first, the Centre has become their second home.
“I remember thinking, ‘where do we start?’ but they walked us through the whole process and gave me a strong feeling of comfort, that warm, reassuring feeling you get when surrounded by family.”
He started receiving occupational therapy, and taking part in recreational therapy groups under the suggestion of her social worker. As he got a bit older, he started seeing a speech pathologist and the Communication Assessment Support Team (CAST).
“All of these services have been a huge help with Liam and his overall well-being. Everyone at the Centre is so supportive.”
Rhonda is most excited about the fact that Liam is now talking, and connecting with his family members, including herself and his older brother Cameron. He seeks out Cameron and initiates play, and Cameron, who is five years older, always take the time to grant Liam’s requests.
“I see a light where there was only darkness. I was told he might never talk, but the other night he said ‘good night mom!’”
He is still working on his sensory perception, but every day is a new day, with new hope. Liam is now swimming and loving it with the help of a very patient and kind instructor. He is also doing well at his community school, making friends with his classmates and growing every day.
“Liam has come a long way, which is a real testament to his mom. She has worked hard with him, teaching him to be affectionate and more open with people. He almost always says ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ to me, and has great manners, “says Tara, his social worker.
Liam’s smile shines bright, just like all of the children Niagara Children’s Centre, thanks to your support.