AEIOU gave our daughter her voice - Casey Cornish
Autism is undoubtedly the biggest life change we, as a family, have ever experienced. It has changed our views on how we look at life and what is important. Living with autism is very much a day-by-day process and each day can differ from the last. However, our time at AEIOU has gifted us the ability to communicate with our daughter Ivy and to give her the help she wants and needs.
As parents, all we wanted was to hear the words “Mum and Dad”. Now we hear these words, and hundreds more, on a daily basis. We credit AEIOU for giving Ivy her voice and we will be eternally grateful.
We had an inkling Ivy might have autism when the speech pathologist providing therapy at the time realised she did not have the tools to assist her progress. Ivy was referred for assessment and it was then we heard the word autism spoken in relation to our child for the first time. It’s a day we will never forget.
We worried for the challenges Ivy was going to face and the unknown of what the future held for her. Would she ever talk? Would she ever get a job? Would she be bullied? What if she never falls in love? Could we have done something differently? These thoughts, along with many others, ran through our heads; it was a whirlwind for both my husband and I.
Once we received Ivy’s diagnosis, we found a speech pathologist who had experience working with children with autism and started seeing an occupational therapist privately. We soon realised Ivy needed more support and so we researched providers specialising in autism and quickly came across AEIOU. The thought of putting our child into someone else’s care was frightening, even more so for a child with special needs. But, we were also clutching at straws trying to get the best help possible. Looking back, the number one piece of advice we would pass on to other families – go in with an open mind!
When Ivy first started at AEIOU in Adelaide, she was non-verbal, not toilet trained and could not sit in one place for more than a few seconds. She is very much a sensory seeker and would constantly be on her head or seeking sensory input to calm her. She did not make eye contact and would hit herself or scream due to being unable to communicate. I admit, the first few weeks were very difficult, as Ivy didn’t like being separated from us. It was the unknown for both her and for us as her parents.
Over the past two years, AEIOU has exceeded our expectations by far and has given Ivy opportunities we never thought would happen. Without fail, her speech and communication progress has been the biggest achievement to date. She can now count, sing songs, say her ABCs, ask for items, and the list goes on. Her vocabulary is changing and improving on a daily basis and it is surreal to watch.
AEIOU has also helped Ivy with toileting, brought out her cheeky and happy personality, taught her self-help and independence skills, cultivated a willingness to learn, developed increased attention to stick to a task, and helped her begin to understand emotions.
Ivy is a very determined personality and we are very optimistic for her future. She has an eagerness to learn and we are excited to say she will be heading off to mainstream school in 2018. We truly believe anything is possible and we credit AEIOU for helping Ivy in her journey.
By Casey Cornish
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