The staff at the clinic was extremely nice and helpful. We were told at the clinic that Guto should have been qualified for therapy based on the speech evaluation he had undergone in January and they couldn’t understand why he was denied the therapy recommendation. They checked with their superiors and found out we were able to qualified for speech therapy without needing a new evaluation, since our previous evaluation should have already qualified him. An addendum was all that needed to be done. They also told us about the early intervention (EI) program available through the government and they helped us get the process started, since it would take a few weeks to complete the requirements. We told them we wanted to start the therapy as soon as possible and that we were willing to pay out of the pocket until all the paperwork for the EI was ready. They told us that as soon as they had the addendum they would call and schedule to start his therapy.
A week later we got a letter on the mail saying we had an appointment at the clinic. It was not as soon as I would like, but at least we had a date scheduled for what I thought would be the beginning of his therapy. We got a call on the day of the appointment and were told they would have to reschedule due to the therapist assigned to Guto having been involved in an auto accident. We were told someone would call us back with a new appointment date, but two days went by and nobody called. We ended up calling the clinic ourselves only to find out that the appointment was only to set up an interview to see if we would qualify for the Early Intervention program. I asked about getting his therapy started and they said they needed a referral from his pediatrician in order to schedule such appointment. What??? Almost a month after the original interview and they still had not sent the request. I didn’t even know one was required. So much for the early intervention! I think I lost my mind that day and I just couldn’t stop crying. Why did it have to be so hard to get help. It was just a simple speech therapy, not a complex surgery. Why so much bureaucracy? Why did it have to take so long?
I remember it was a Thursday afternoon. I knew Guto’s pediatrician was at work then, but she would not be back to the clinic until the following Tuesday and I was pretty sure she would not get to sign the required form if they faxed it to her that day. I am so glad I have a wonderful husband that was not only worried about our son, but now was worried about me too. Instead of taking a chance, he had the clinic fax the form directly to him and he personally made sure the paper got signed that day by taking it to the pediatrician himself and then delivering the form in person to the clinic. Now we just had to wait for the call back from the clinic with the day we would start therapy. I made Joe call them everyday to ask about the appointment and it still took them a whole week to schedule his first therapy session. He was going to have two 30 minute sessions a week. I think he should have qualified for more, but it was all we had until the next evaluation when he turned 2.
To our surprise during the week we were waiting for the therapy to be scheduled
we got a call from the Dennis Developmental Center (DDC), which was highly recommended I had spoken to in regards to autism. I was feeling hopeful again because the waiting list was between 9 to 18 months and we got him in within 2 months. How lucky we were!!! I felt like someone up there was surely looking out for us.
Our appointment was scheduled for April 20th, which was one day after Guto started his speech therapy. However, the therapist just watched him for a while to figure out his needs, since she was not the one that evaluated him before so I don’t think that session really counted.
When we went to the appointment at the DDC we met with a social worker (Becca) and she was very sweet. She took all three of us to a small room and I was surprised to see that they didn’t have many toys to keep Guto busy or even to see how he would behave.
During the appointment we mentioned how blessed we felt to be able to get the appointment so early. She said we sent our application at the right time and it must have been meant to be. She also confirmed that the waiting list was actually closer to 18 months due to the number of people they had to assess and their limited time and number of professionals available to do the evaluations.
She sat across from us and Guto started to play with the few toys they had. He was not happy being there and tried to scape a couple of times. She didn’t interact with him that much because this interview was more about us. She asked a lot of questions about Guto’s behavior and medical history and she kept a watchful eye on him during our interview.
We found out that this was just a screening assessment. I guess due to the number of people they have looking for answers, they need this kind of screening to see who really qualified for the type of thorough assessment they provide. Fortunately we did qualify for it and were told she would call with the date for the next step, which was going to be an appointment with the neuropediatrician.
I remember feeling somehow relieved again. Now my baby was going to be seen by a doctor and he would be assessed by a multidisciplinary team specialized on autism.
I told Becca how worried I was since everything was taking such a long time I didn’t know if I was doing enough to help Guto, but I just didn’t know what else to do, everything was so new to me. And her words made me fell so good. She said. “You are great parents, you did everything you could have done. Don’t worry: You are on the right track!”
After literally losing my mind and after all the frustration we experienced, I believed her words and I finally started to feel I really was on the right track and that somehow everything was going to be allright.
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