Rene is cycling 7k to help raise money for sensory equipment for the school as part of World Autism Awareness Week and we’ll be cheering him on all the way!
Our emotional journey begun when Rene, at the age of 2, was referred to Speech and Language Therapy due to speech and language delay. With the support of OT friends, we also started intervention at home to improve his communication skills. At the age of 3, following speech therapy sessions, referral to Paediatrician was recommended. At this point, we were fully aware as parents that Rene has developmental delay.
At preschool, his development needs became more apparent. Due to language delay, he had difficulty expressing and managing his emotions and has manifested behavioural problems in the preschool such as shouting, throwing, and hitting peers. The preschool had put strategies in place to support him. Aside from waiting for a formal diagnosis at this stage, we were also dealing with the management of Rene’s behaviour in the preschool. There were days when we were called to pick him earlier due to his behaviour, and the most painful event was when Rene was not allowed to stay for lunch and longer session (despite his entitlement) because of his behaviour. It was very painful to hear from educators that your child with disability could not be in a social environment “because he is fascinated with little girls, and that other children are feeling anxious/scared around Rene”. During this period, we, as parents, seek help from the Local Authority to get involve to put extra support for Rene. Sadly, despite the approval for funding to support Rene, this was not put in place.
During this emotional time, we had the full support of the Specialist Teacher who visited Rene in the preschool and had recommended additional strategies. Rene was then diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder on 14 February 2019. We also applied for Education, Health and Care plan which was granted before he started Reception. Rene continued to improve with his speech, he was then discharged from speech and language therapy.
In preparation to Reception, we have learnt to move on from the challenges we have experienced in preschool. We embraced the fact that Rene’s journey will be faced by many challenges but we remained positive that with the right support, he will cope in a mainstream school.
During Reception, we saw huge improvement in his communication and social skills. The most important thing is that he is extremely happy to be in school. Our anxiety was replaced with happiness and confidence that his school is doing their best to support him…and that is important to us. We are very grateful to all the teachers, TA’s and SEND team who continue to support Rene since he started attending primary school.
In line with Autism Awareness Week 2021, Rene will cycle a total of 7K that week, to raise money to fund for more sensory equipment in his school. This will be very helpful to the students who are needing additional support to facilitate their learning. Sensory equipment are proven effective tools to develop essential life skills such as communication, gross and fine motor skills, perception and visual recognition. Due to pandemic, there is also increase need for more resources to maintain safety of the children and staff.
Thank you everyone for your generosity and for sending your love and support to Rene in this 7K cycle challenge.
Stay safe and God Bless.