Our daughter, Ava, was born just 8 days early and was a perfectly healthy baby. There were no pregnancy or delivery complications and there were no indications of any developmental delays until she was about 18 months old. Being a first time mom, I was not “up to speed” on the developmental milestones of toddlers, but I knew enough to be concerned that her speech was not progressing like the other children in her class. When I mentioned it to her doctor he was not concerned and seemed to think it was a result of her chronic ear infections that had impacted her hearing. Ava received her second set of tubes in her ears at 18 months of age. We were hoping her speech would catch up once the fluid was removed from her ears. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
Around the same time, her daycare teacher had noticed some sensory processing issues with her such as spinning in circles and an aversion to lights. She suggested that we contact the Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA) to have her evaluated. She was evaluated when she was 22 months old. The evaluation was performed by a speech therapist, physical therapist and occupational therapist. At the end of the evaluation, they determined that her delays were significant enough to warrant speech therapy and occupational therapy once a week. CDSA provided the evaluation free of charge and offered free service coordination, meaning that they would identify the therapists and work with them to schedule her therapy sessions.
Unfortunately, we did not qualify for funding towards these services and our insurance plan did not kick in until we had met our $5,000 deductible. After receiving therapy for a few months, her therapists suggested that we have Ava evaluated by a psychologist for Autism. CDSA provided this evaluation free of charge and at the age of 26 months, Ava was diagnosed with Autism. Ava continued her speech and occupational therapy and we eventually added Anat Baniel Method (ABM) therapy as well. This type of therapy is not covered by our private insurance.
At this point we were spending a significant amount of money per month on her various therapies and I began meeting other families who simply could not afford to provide these effective yet expensive therapies for their child. It was at that time I decided to start Kids with PossAbilities so that more families have access to these critical therapies and educational opportunities that can make their child’s future full of PossAbilities.