Kiernan was born five weeks early on a rainy day in November, 2009. We took one look at this long limbed, dark eyed, dark haired baby boy and thought, hmmm, he looks like a little Irish elf – and so he came to his name, Kiernan – Irish Gaelic for ‘little dark lord.’
‘K’ –as he is affectionately known – spent his first year being doted on by family and friends. He was an easy going baby- sleeping through the night, didn’t play shy and only refused to eat green beans. He still refuses to eat green beans!
As we approached Kiernan’s first birthday we started to wonder if, however, something might be amiss. Kiernan hadn’t learned to roll over, couldn’t stay in a seated position without support, couldn’t sit up on his own and had few words with which to express himself. When it became apparent that these delays were not just a result of being premature it was time to seek medical help.
For the next year, K was sent to see various pediatric neurologists, physiotherapists, metabolic, and geneticists. No one was able to tell us with any certainty the cause of Kiernan’s delays and we were becoming increasingly concerned about his development and future. Our growing frustration was compounded by numerous inconclusive appointments at which we repeatedly briefed each new specialist about Kiernan’s history and treatment to date.
And then....we were referred to OCTC. It was with great relief and with some healthy skepticism that we met with the OCTC developmental neurologist – who diagnosed Kiernan with Global Developmental Delay which made clear Kiernan’s limitations with gross and fine motor skills and language. The doctor explained that Kiernan’s required therapies would now be coordinated by an OCTC team of specialists from that point forward; what a relief! We would no longer have to bring all of Kiernan’s medical files to each new appointment and spend half of the appointment getting them up to speed.
Subsequently, Kiernan was offered a placement with the OCTC Pre-School from which he just graduated! Pre-school soon became Kiernan’s favourite place to be – he still asks us every day if he will be going to pre-school and seeing his beloved teacher Anne. The therapy team and his teachers have helped Kiernan to learn to run, jump, ride a tricycle and communicate with his friends and family (often non-stop!). We are thrilled that he will be joining the OCTC school in the fall where he will be able to see new and old friends, and continue to build on his confidence and skills.
As parents, it was difficult at times to accept the idea that our little baby boy had developmental issues. It is not the dream that a parent has for their child. But, coming to an environment like OCTC where Kiernan is embraced and accepted for all that he is, and is encouraged and supported to become all that he can be – is a precious gift. Thank you OCTC!