Saturday, October 14, 2006

Owen's Progress, Egg Chairs & Food Colouring

I know it's been awhile since I updated everyone on how the boys are doing with their programs. Before I can really tell you what the boys are up to, I should probably tell you where we're at in regards to the admin aspect of our funding. It has been quite a process. I won't drag out the details, but in a nutshell, here's what has happened over the last three months:

- in literally the first week that we arrived, we were met by our social worker from FSCD (Family Support for Children with Disabilities). (See: http://www.calgaryandareacfsa.gov.ab.ca/crv.nsf/(Search)/Special+Needs-Family+Support+Services if you want more information about the process). Our needs were assessed and within weeks, we were provided with a contract that ensured that our family would have funding provided for respite care, community aides for the boys and a handful of other services

- we were also automatically granted PUF funding (See: http://www.education.gov.ab.ca/funding/specialneeds.asp). This provides the boys with 15 hours a week of preschool (every morning). At the beginning of September, Owen and Will started attending a program that works under the same umbrella-agency as their special services therapy. It is an amazing program where they receive an ABA approach to education with two other little boys: Owen M. and Harrison.

- the next big step was to prepare to present our 'case' or request for funding to a panel of professionals made up of social workers from FSCD, Calgary Coordinated Services (can't remember the proper acronym right now), Autism Partnership (the agency we are working with for services), a pediatrician, Speech Pathologist, etc. I had to write a case study for each of the boys, detailing their needs, their challenges and the distinguishable 'autistic' characteristics that we feel need to be addressed and I had to make specific goals that we would like to achieve to defend why we were request this support from them.

- While we were awaiting our scheduled date to present the case, we were given a behaviour therapist to work with each of the boys for a total of 10 hours a week. The lovely Erin began coming into our home each afternoon in the beginning of September and she has been amazing. Some target behaviours were identified (attending to tasks for example and implementing a communication program for example) and the boys are making great strides now in these areas.

- Two weeks ago I presented our story before the panel, with Julide and Lindsay from Autism Partnership by my side, and within the week we were notified that we were awarded with everything we asked for!! Without detailing their exact program, they were granted 20 hours a week each of support aides (in addition to the preschool program in the mornings). These hours will also include speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology and clinical sessions. It's unbelievable. We are now waiting for Autism Partnership to get the staff so that we can get the complete program underway!!!

To say that the boys are making huge progress would be an understatement. Here is a glimpse of what Owen is up to. Two of our main goals or priorities in his program is to work on implementing the PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) program and to work on all of our issues surrounding feeding.

Owen exchanges pictures to request desired items or activities. He has taken to it very quickly and in a matter of days, we are waiting to implement the program into our daily living, as it is still in the early stages during 'therapy time' only.


Lindsay and Erin work with Owen during a clinic in our home. Here Owen is being rewarded with his requested activity - his Wiggle guitar!


Owen's favourite reinforcer/reward is his egg chair. He likes to be closed in it and spun around

Here Erin is introducing foods to Owen in the form of play. The idea is just to build a tolerance for being in the presence of, or playing with, different textured foods that he wouldn't normally allow near him. Jake and Will can't help but be a part of the fun.. here Erin is mixing food colouring in yogurt that they finger paint with on paper.


you can see that Owen isn't too thrilled with touching the yogurt but he is doing it anyway! His reward is to watch clips from a Wiggles dvd, which is played from a portable player on the table



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