For many families, coming to the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre can allow their children who have multiple or complex needs to benefit from programs and services to help them through their journey. For example, they can have access to a therapy team including a speech language pathologist, a physiotherapist and a developmental paediatrician.
It was the case for Jayden’s family, as her mother explains: “When our five year old daughter Jayden was born, little did we know a brief infant hearing screening would lead to countless appointments in Jayden’s first years. Looking back, we wonder how we got through it all. One thing is certain: we could not have survived without the many supportive professionals along the way, including those from the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.
After the diagnosis that Jayden was severe to profoundly deaf, we began to notice other little signs. She was not developing at the same rate as her peers. She seemed laid back…very laid back. We wondered why she was not sitting up and grasping at things as expected. And she choked often. All these signs were subtle, yet worrisome.
We were referred to the developmental paediatrician at OCTC who then referred us to a neurologist. Further tests revealed that she was hypotonic, which amounted to severe low muscle tone. Recognizing Jayden could have faced a much more serious diagnosis, we were relieved. However, we still wanted the best for her and asked what could be done to improve her condition. By this time, Jayden was eight months old, and yet, her gross and fine motor skills were the equivalent of a three-four month old. Without help, we imagined the gap would only get wider.
Back to the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre we went. We were introduced to an infant development worker who came to our home biweekly. She was a wealth of information, sharing toys and activities for every stage of development. Coming to our home meant we did not have to make yet another trip out, a challenge when working around two naps a day!
We also worked with the OCTC physiotherapist whom we visited every few weeks. Jayden loved to attend these appointments, despite the challenges they placed on her body. It is true when they say it’s the people who make all the difference. We learned how to do physiotherapy at home and received tips on how to incorporate physiotherapy into our daily routines so it never felt like ‘therapy.’
Jayden’s fine motor skills were also affected and she was having difficulty during mealtimes, choking sometimes and having trouble holding a spoon. The occupational therapist worked around our schedule, visiting during meal times so that she could help with specific issues as they arose.
OCTC takes a ‘holistic’ approach, which meant we also had access to other services such as the speech language pathologist, which was ideal given Jayden’s spoken language challenges. We also had access to therapeutic play groups.
Our experience with the OCTC was such a blessing. I am pleased to tell you that Jayden is now five years old and is in kindergarten. She is reading, walking, biking, colouring and doing all the things kids her age do. And at her high school graduation, no one but us will remember that she did not walk until she was two and a half. It just won’t matter anymore.
Thank you to all the staff at OCTC for making a huge difference in our lives!”