In Her Words : Tiffany and Scott’s Story

“If I am honest, I didn’t know what to expect from our visit to the Patch“. -Tiffany

My son Scott is 4 and I had a feeling for a while that something wasn’t right with his behavior. I couldn’t put my finger on it exactly. Yet as a parent, I just knew I needed to do something.

I went down the path of reading and watching any material I could get my hands on to find answers. I started to learn that there is an overwhelming amount of parenting techniques and suggestions out there. I wasn’t sure if I had been too easy going in my parenting? I felt like you can’t win either way you look at it.

I watched documentaries on children with Autism, with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). The last one was a new one for me. Yet none of these stories related to Scott. The behavioral problems these children demonstrated weren’t the same.  The stories just posed more questions than answers for me. I saw my GP about my concerns with Scott and she referred me to a Child Psychologist. This psychologist referred me again, yet this time it was to the Patch.

“To me, it wasn’t just about labels. I wanted to know how I could help Scott be the best he can be, for his future”.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, I didn’t know what a Paediatric service could offer us. I ended up being surprised however, as our visits to the Patch soon turned things around. I was able to finally understand where Scott was coming from, what he needed and how to go forward. To me, it wasn’t just about labels. I wanted to know how I could help Scott be the best he can be, for his future.

Our initial visits where with Ana, the Speech Pathologist. She did an amazing job of helping me understand how Scott’s wonderful brain works. She provided me with examples of games and learning techniques, that could help accommodate his ability to process and learn new information about the world. We then started having alternate appointments with both Ana and Gwenda. Gwenda is the team’s Occupational Therapist, who gave us insight into how we can help Scott to participate in everyday life activities to the best of his ability. The team were brilliant. Even though I was nervous about Scott being behind or different to his peers, the Patch team helped me feel comfortable enough to talk about it. Even the lovely receptionist started to recognise us and got to know Scott and me from our visits.

When we saw Mandy, the clinic’s Paediatrician, she helped us understand how Scott’s behaviours pointed to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mandy reviewed Scott’s visits with Ana and Gwenda, so together as a team they came to this outcome. It was comforting to know that this wasn’t a quick diagnosis, that the team provided an assessment coming from each of their different disciplines. I also learnt that the condition is not a result of parenting techniques; it’s simply how Scott is.

As a family, we were relieved. We had learnt so much in the process about how we could help nurture Scott and the way his mind ticks. We also could now move forward. With the support from the Patch, I applied for the NDIS for Scott and as it turns out we were eligible. This means we can engage Scott in a number of support areas, to help prepare him for his learning and development in time for kindergarten.

“I am really happy that the Patch were able to provide a diagnosis for Scott while he is still so young”.

All children are different. With Scott, his brain is wired in unique and wonderful ways. Now that we know that, we can help him learn and grow through specific therapies and activities. Ana has even been in contact with Scott’s kindergarten teacher, to ensure that his learning experience is catered to his needs. Scott and I also attend a parent-child play based education group, which allows us to socialise and learn with other families in the community in similar situations to us. I am really happy that the Patch were able to provide a diagnosis for Scott while he is still so young, as it means we can ensure his learning and social skills are developed well before he starts school.

We still have a long journey ahead, yet a huge weight is lifted from my shoulders. We now have the support networks to plan for a bright future and we understand Scott’s needs. A huge thank you to the Patch team. You helped our family, while making sure we felt comfortable and respected. We hope to continue using the Patch services as Scott grows from strength to strength. It’s good to know we can come back to so many familiar faces. It’s nice that we can now celebrate Scott’s beautiful mind and his unique ways of understanding his world.

 

We don’t recommend you use this article as a diagnostic tool or as medical advice, as all families and children are different. To find out more about how the Patch may be able to help you, contact us on patch@carringtonhealth.org.au or send an enquiry via contact us.

A note to the reader: Tiffany wanted to share her and Scott’s experience at the Patch, for other parents and carers who may be in a similar situation. Due to Scott’s young age, their names have been changed in this story.