Baby boy, 12 months …

We were worried because Mathieu was 12 months old and still unable to eat any food beyond purees. Whenever he tried to eat solid foods, he would immediately vomit upon swallowing. 

We attempted to schedule an appointment to see an occupation therapist through the public system. The Hospital requires a referral from our paediatrician just to open a file to begin the process that would eventually lead to appointments. After spending several weeks of unsuccessful attempts to obtain the necessary paperwork from our paediatrician, and realizing that we did not know how long the wait time would be before our first appointment, we decided to turn our research to the internet in order to consult an occupational therapist as soon as possible. This is how we found Buds in Bloom®.

Just a few days later, an occupational therapist visited our home. From the moment we met her, we felt her passion for children and her desire to help Mathieu. She suggested different exercises and methods that would help Mathieu eat like others of his age. Today, Mathieu is 20 months old. He has completely caught up from his delays. A huge thank you to our occupational therapist from Buds in Bloom® for her excellent analysis as well as judicious recommendations.

Pamela and François, Mathieu’s parents, 20 months of age

Boys, 2 and 4 years of age …

I am a very proud parent of two little boys with Autism. I met our Occupational Therapist (OT), and she’s been visiting us once a week for the past eight months.

There are people who touch your life like the people from Buds in Bloom®. Our OT and the interventionists that Buds in Bloom® referred to us have had no judgements; they come into our home with so much understanding. They have offered so much advice and hope, and they do it with love for my children and for so many in similar situations.

For all their hard work and devotion they offer to so many, I deeply give my gratitude. Sincerely,

Alice, mother of two boys, 2 and 4 years of age

Girl, 3½ years of age …

When I gave birth to my twin daughters I was thrilled. As my girls were developing, I noticed that my younger twin was always lagging behind the other. She was behind physically, socially and verbally. When I expressed concern to my paediatrician, she assured me that she would catch up. At her 1st birthday, her vocabulary was one or two words; she was very selective with who could approach her (mom, dad and siblings only). She had no imaginary play and was physically weak, and had poor coordination. I didn’t want to wait and see if she would catch up, and I found out about Buds in Bloom® who referred us to occupational therapy and speech therapy.

The day my daughter was first visited by an occupational therapist, I was so nervous. How will a therapist help my daughter who was 18 months old, when she won’t even acknowledge her own grandparents? Within the first five minutes of the session, I began to see the benefits of occupational therapy (OT). My daughter made her first connection with a person outside her immediate family! The connection was made because the therapist knew exactly how to approach and appeal to her client. Soon after we began OT my daughter was diagnosed with autism… I was told by the autism clinic that my daughter needed to receive intensive therapy as the window of opportunity is mostly from now until she is six years old. The clinic sent my daughter’s case to the local rehabilitation center. I was then contacted and notified the waiting list was going to be more than a year. Needless to say the panic and the feeling of desperation was our reality. As with all parents, we wanted to do whatever we could to help our daughter. As a result, I became my daughter’s case manager and advocate. During that year my daughter received OT therapy, music therapy, speech therapy, pre-reading and swimming, and was in daycare four mornings a week (yes we were very busy!). We continued OT visits twice a week for 6 months, and then decreased to once a week. The OT taught my daughter the joy of imaginary play. The OT was able to facilitate all of my daughter’s weaknesses by using imaginary play as her tool. Our visits with the OT are the highlight of my daughter’s day. The activities were challenging but were always done in a relaxed and playful environment. In order to help my daughter socialize with other children, the OT was present in the daycare class once a week. The OT made great suggestions to the teachers to help my daughter reach her fullest potential. Almost two years later my daughter is now at her appropriate age level in speech; she has lots of friends at her new pre-K school, and has an amazing imagination. When we went for a visit to the autism clinic, we were told, after many diagnostic testing, that my daughter no longer qualifies for the diagnosis of autism; she no longer has autism. Although we as parents are very pleased with our daughter’s progress, we realize that early intervention is key. Occupational therapy plays a crucial role in our daughter’s progress. We are presently devoting a great deal of attention on my daughter’s fine and gross motor skills such as handwriting, balance and coordination. I am quite optimistic that with the help and encouragement that my daughter receives from her Buds in Bloom® therapists, she will be just fine!

 Thankful Mom and Dad, parents of our twin daughter, 3½ years of age

Boy, 4 years of age …

Right now I am very happy with where Ken is. He’s independent, communicative, sweet, and motivated to learn new skills. He has difficulties in following through on certain tasks like getting dressed and undressed, but he is aware that he gets distracted and actually cues us to cue him to stay focused, which is adorable and amazing. Thanks to our Occupational therapist’s wonderful suggestion of using a visual schedule to help him get ready for school or bed, and using a stop-watch to measure Ken’s progress against himself, he is now motivated to follow through on this routine. Some days, he’s slower than others, but at least he wants to keep doing it. I really feel like I have a partner in teaching Ken these life skills. The Occupational Therapist really values my input and it’s great how we set goals together, and check in with each other. I know when there is a challenge there is someone who I can talk to about it who will probably come up with a very smart solution. I love that visits are done in the home. It’s very convenient, and besides it being convenient, the Occupational Therapist gets to see my son in his natural setting, using his own things. And in general I love that the Occupational Therapist’s philosophy is to use the child’s natural routine to teach skills. For example, in helping me do the laundry, Ken is practicing undoing and doing duvet covers, and undressing and dressing pillows. I also got ideas of cool toys to use, that I think are really good toys and that I use even with my own clients (I work with children too!). 

But it wasn’t always this way. When Ken was 2, he was having a lot of trouble integrating at daycare. He was aggressive with the children, and not communicating effectively. The daycare was threatening multiple times to kick him out. We also used to have so much trouble with his tantrums; he just could not be comforted. After Ken’s diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we were put on a 16-month waiting list for ABA therapy, with no possibility of Speech-Language Pathology or Occupational Therapy through the public system. It was so rigid the way that the government wanted to offer the services that, when eventually we were called to start the public service, which was about 2 years later, we ended up turning it down because we are so satisfied with what we are currently getting. We eventually decided to leave the daycare, and Ken now attends a specialized preschool. The Occupational Therapist then met the new preschool to share and update on his treatment plan. She has always been open to communicating with them and working together. More recently, we were getting very frustrated at how long it was taking him to get dressed, we thought he was simply getting distracted or being manipulative. But when the Occupational Therapist explained Ken’s challenges through the lens of dyspraxia (he’s not being difficult; this task is actually challenging for him, more so than normal, and he needs support, not punishment), it made us more compassionate of what he is going through. 

Lisa and David, Ken’s parents, 4 years of age

Girl, 7 years of age …

About a year ago, the relationship with our 7-year-old daughter was hard; we felt we were losing control and were unable to help her with her frustrations. We knew that she needed help but we did not know how to help her. Finding Buds in Bloom® changed everything. We now understand her behaviour better; she is getting weekly help on those required skills. And most critically and often forgotten: we as parents are getting coached on how best to support her development.

Caroline, mother of a girl, 7 years of age

Boy, 9 years of age …

Today, I look at my son Maxim converse with others, laugh and make friends. But it was not always like this!

At home, crying, screaming and anger were on the menu. Tantrums in daycare when a game was changed. Maxim could not express himself. He seemed unhappy. He did not understand the basic rules such as making his bag, leaving his clothes in his locker, putting away his pencils, and changing classes for gym or music. He played hockey, all alone, without even paying attention to other players. He had no friends; was never invited to anybody’s party. I did not know how to approach it. I did not understand. I was helpless. After 6 years of being told that my son is not a priority, a teacher gave me references to help my son. The diagnosis was confirmed: a form of autism. In search now for therapy to help him, I made many calls to hospitals, CLSCs, private clinics, to be told no. They refused us, because he is too old, we are too far, he is not quite disabled enough or simply because the wait times reach 2 to 4 years. Finally, I found Buds in Bloom®. Someone met with us, and took the time to listen. Rare nowadays. An occupational therapist met with Maxim, and he accepted her, and cooperated with her requests! We made a plan of action with my son. Day after day, small victories began. My son is opening up to us, understands us, understands himself, and most importantly, we now understand him, thanks to the advice of the occupational therapist and the team of interventionists.

I could shout from the rooftops that the Buds in Bloom® network partners are excellent, extraordinary. I think the simple fact that Maxim communicates, listens, participates and interacts says a lot more about this organization. My son independently gets ready in the morning, writes his responsibilities in his diary, and gets invited to parties. He even fits in the group! Today, Maxim seems happy, fascinated with life and playful.

Thank you with all my heart to all the team!

Elaine, the mother of Maxim, 9 years of age