Workshop helps parents navigate life with autism

Diane
Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK — Corey and Vanessa Ivany travelled to Corner Brook from their Port au Port East home on Saturday to do some networking they hope will help them as they navigate life with an autistic child.

The Ivanys were among about 60 people to participate in “Navigating the ABCs of ASD,” a one-day workshop organized by the Autism Society Newfoundland and Labrador — Western Chapter. While aimed at parents and caregivers, the workshop also attracted teachers and health professionals from around the region.

During a lunch break at the Blomidon Golf and Country Club Vanessa said their four-year-old son, Cohen, was diagnosed with autism two years ago.

“Cohen was a preemie, so he was followed by all these developmental psychologists and perinatal teams anyway,” said Vanessa. “So of course we were really aware of his milestones.”

At around 18 months though, Vanessa said they started to realize that their son was missing those developmental milestones. She said it was his pediatrician at the time who suggested he may be autistic.

“We knew there was something, but we weren’t sure,” said Corey.

It took about eight months before the Ivanys could get Cohen an appointment to be assessed at the Janeway Children’s Hospital in St. John’s. Following that came the official diagnosis and what Corey said was a sense of relief.

Vanessa agreed.

“Because we knew there was something wrong, but this gave us a game plan ... we had an idea of what we could do to help him,” she said.

Being educators the Ivanys had some experience with autism, so Vanessa said they had an idea of what laid ahead.

Cohen receives applied behavioural analysis (ABA) treatment and Corey said he is just now starting to talk.

He believes his “sweet little boy,” who is very intelligent, is on track to be what is often classed as higher functioning.

Vanessa said in the Stephenville area they hear a lot about events the Autism Society holds, but not living in Corner Brook has not allowed them to take part in all activities. She said the workshop was an opportunity to get involved and helped give them an awareness of what’s available through the society.

And of course they felt the workshop sessions, which covered things like applied behavioural analysis treatment, occupational therapy, supports in the school system, assisted living and transitioning to post-secondary education would provide them with some valuable information.

 

 

Organizations: Autism Society Newfoundland and Labrador, Blomidon Golf and Country Club Vanessa, ABA

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Port East, Western Janeway Children Stephenville

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  • rworried
    January 13, 2014 - 13:37

    I have a brother-in-law who is Autistic, his father was and his son is. It definitely runs in families but obviously not always . Non of my family members were ever diagnosed and I suspect there are a lot like them around , we need to do more for these people and make people aware of their condition and help them to cope bette in society. It's only by sheer luck that my brother- in- law has managed to find employment , being from another country , people just assumed he was esentric and a little strange. He did well in jobs because he liked the routine and it never varied. He is high functioning, I know a lot aren't. He's one of the lucky ones, many aren't. But I wonder how he would have turned out if he had some help as a child.