JOSHUA’S JOURNEY

Providing support after an ASD diagnosis

Jennifer describes the road to Grandview Kids with her three-year-old son, as a challenging one. After observing some differences in the way Josh interacted at the age of one, she asked her family doctor for a referral but was told not to worry. It was then that she began to advocate for her child, insisting that he at least get put on the wait list for the speech language program at Grandview Kids. Eventually, her doctor agreed with her about Joshua, and an appointment was scheduled with one of the developmental peadiatricians at Grandview Kids, Dr. Shannon Knights.

“Dr. Knights was very welcoming and positive,” says Jennifer. “She explained all the testing and processes that would happen and what she was looking for in terms of Joshua’s responses. She made us both feel very comfortable and communicated very well throughout the entire process.”

Dr. Knights diagnosed Joshua with ASD 2 when he was 22 months old. Right away, she created a plan for Jennifer, outlining what they needed to do from that point on. This plan included applying for the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) right away, meeting with a social worker and signing up for some of the supportive programs and services that were available at Grandview Kids.

“When you first receive a diagnosis of ASD, the information can be very overwhelming. Grandview Kids has helped so much.”

Before the pandemic began in March 2020, Jennifer was able to attend a Parent and Tot class with Joshua, which allowed her to connect with other parents and learn from Grandview Kids recreation therapists. She also took part in valuable Connections and More Than Words workshops. These workshops helped her learn more about how to effectively communicate with her son, including strategies for understanding Joshua’s gestures and sounds and encouraging connection by playing alongside him on the floor.

Three-year-old Grandview Kid, Joshua

Jennifer continues to keep in touch with other Grandview Kids parents using the OPS Facebook page, a tremendous outlet for support and advice and a significant part of her own journey. These days, Joshua is busy doing recreation therapy with Grandview Kids therapist, Alicia, in Ajax, and is also working on his speech with Grandview Kids Speech Language Therapy Assistant, Kelly, at our Paul Dwyer location (in-person since February 2021).

Kelly is helping Joshua string more words together and also supporting the family as they explore the possibility of him using augmented communication devices. “I love that Kelly follows Joshua’s interests in their sessions instead of forcing him to do something he’s not interested in,” says Jennifer. “She’s been an incredible asset!”