The Wainstein Family's Story
It’s been a challenging time for our family, even before Dina’s diagnosis. Dina did not hit her milestones in the ‘normal’ timeframes: she didn’t walk until she was 17 months old, and did not seem interested in interacting with others. Being our first child we didn’t think much about it, and just thought that perhaps she was a late bloomer. She went to family day care from 6 months old, where she was seen to be a ‘good’ and ‘quiet’ baby. She seemed quite intent in some activities but was not attentive to people. Dina was 17 months old when her sister Nechama was born, but while she was interested in her sister, she still mainly enjoyed playing by herself.
Dina began exhibiting other challenging behaviours and we decided to move to Brisbane, mostly to be close to our family and for more support. Dina was getting older, and her inability to communicate verbally and her lack of social skills became more obvious. She enjoyed spinning, hand flapping and was extremely anxious around new people and situations. She had no desire for toilet training and needed help with fine motor skills. What was more alarming to us as parents was that her younger sister, Nechama was overtaking Dina in terms of social interaction. She had a bigger vocabulary and was reaching all of her ‘normal’ milestones.
My mother suggested that Dina start speech therapy and that we should book her in with a paediatrician. Dina’s initial speech therapy report showed she was extremely delayed for her age. She continued speech therapy and it took around nine months for her to complete a series of tests in order to receive a diagnosis. On July 5 2012, just a few days before her fourth birthday, Dina received the diagnosis of autism, and it hit us like a tonne of bricks. Knowing Dina was never going to be a ‘typical’ child put an extensive strain on our family dynamics. We had to learn new ways to communicate with each other and with Dina, whilst giving adequate attention to Nechama.
We were told AEIOU Foundation could give Dina the best early intervention, however there was a long waiting list. We were very lucky to receive a place three months later, and joining AEIOU was the best thing that has happened for Dina and our family. When Dina started at AEIOU, her initial IEP (Individual Education Plan) was to communicate verbally. She has come so far since then. She now has so many friends and is able to interact and talk to family members, close friends and even children in the park. She wasn’t completely toilet trained prior to starting AEIOU, now she takes herself, turns on the light and is able to turn on taps to wash her hands, completing the whole process. Dina is a completely different, confident, child and we are forever grateful to the staff at AEIOU for giving our daughter the best chance at life through early intervention and relieving some of the pressures on the family. She is reading to herself and her sister and constantly asking questions.
I was amazed at the huge amount of support AEIOU provided to us as parents. All staff members worked together to provide tactics, skills, support, a listening ear to provide what was best for us as an entire family unit. There have been times that I’ve arrived at the centre in tears and Dina’s teachers and therapists offered me assistance and so much support in order to overcome whatever obstacle we were facing.
We are so proud of Dina and the incredible milestones she has reached. AEIOU has given us hope for her future, which we could only have dreamed of. We are so much stronger as a family unit and are forever grateful to all the staff members who have worked with us and have become our confidants and friends.
I read an amazing quote “I thought I would have to teach my child about the world, but I now realise I have to teach the world about my child”. AEIOU has given me the tools to do this. To understand autism better and I understand my daughter that much more. Whilst Dina may never be the ‘typical’ child we had imagined, that’s ok. As long as she can be the best Dina she can be, we could never ask for anything more!
Thank you, AEIOU!
- Taryn WainsteinBack to Stories