Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Learning Journey, Indeed.

I am not a big fan of taking night classes. But Scott and I are headed back to school starting tonight so we can learn how to provide Max IBI (Intensive Behaviour Intervention) at home. The course (called "Learning Journey", I believe) is through Erinoak, and is part of their "wait list management strategy" for families with children on the 3 year wait list to receive publicly funded IBI therapy.

Now, let's just discuss the term "wait list management strategy" for a moment. I work for a really, really, big company. I work in Marketing. I know all about "spin", and how to "manage expectations". But, my dog! I have NEVER heard a more BS term than this. The very utterance sends me into orbit. I was at a focus group for Halton Region a few months ago and this term came up, and my head started spinning. I think the moderator regretted the words the minute they came out of her mouth and I proceeded to jump down her throat. I doubt I'll be invited to anymore focus groups for municipal services after that!

But, let's get back to the "Learning Journey" course. It's a six week course (one night a week), followed by 6 intensive coaching sessions for the parents. While spending an evening in a board room after wiping up baby drool and trekking Max to his therapy appointments all day is going to be taxing for sure, this will also be very useful for Scott and me. Therapy for kids with Autism cannot end once they leave their therapist's office (it's kind of like going on a diet for an hour a week). It is really important that we be able to carry the same principles through at home.

We took the "More Than Words" course through Erinoak last year, and we continue to use all of the principles they taught us to help Max learn to communicate. We have even trained those that spend time with Max on the basics so they can join "Team Max" as well. I'm also looking forward to learning more about IBI so I can have a more educated conversation with Max's therapists. Right now I feel like I just have to trust them and take their word that what they are doing is working. Not to say I don't trust them, because I do, I think they are incredible. But when you are forking over the kind of money we are, and living hand to mouth, you want to feel 100% confident that you are doing the right thing and not throwing your hard earned money out the window. (I say this as I have just emailed the co-ordinator of Max's IBI program asking her if he will be able to handle more hours in the coming months!)

Thanks again to everyone who voted for me in the Mabel's Labels BlogHer Contest! If you haven't heard, I won! Now, please go buy some of their awesome products :-) You won't regret it, they truly are the best thing since sliced bread. (I highly recommend the shoe labels - they are a personal favourite).


  1. Congrats on winning the contest Kat ! That is quite exciting. I have ordered from Mabels Labels twice and love the products as well. A little pricey, but in the end worth it like so many other quality things. I like the clothing tags, and shoe labels.

    Night school..ugh..I hate doing things at night. I have dog school one night a week right now and hate that..lol You guys are doing such a good job taking the bull by the horns with Max. He is a lucky kid to have you as parents. I am sorry it is stretching you thin and pissing you off dealing with the beaurocracy of it all.

    Hang in there..I'm so glad you won the contest ! Yay ! You deserve it !

  2. Kat - I know you are really busy right now... but, I had a thought while I was reading this post. What if you were to connect with other parents that are having similar issues getting the Autism treatment necessary for their children - Maybe a little advertising, flyers, etc to create even more interest? Collect donations from the families that would like to be involved. Rent a space or a room once or twice a week/ month (i.e. YMCA, local hotel?) for all these children to come together for "unofficial" therapy conducted by the parents? I am sure you have learned so much in experience and research that you would be able to apply the same theories. Maybe you could even get a licensed counselor to donate his/her time for free or a discounted rate?
    It seems you truly have a passion for finding solutions to this problem that affects so many. You have spent time trying to force corrections to a broken system. You seem like the type that could and would create a solution… even if you just begin with your town.

  3. The challenge is that IBI needs to be delivered 1 on 1, especially when child is as young as Max and has so many skills that he needs to learn. Also, every Autistic child is so different, their IBI programs are tailored to meet their individual needs.

    I have joined the Autism Ontario yahoo group, and I am friends with a lot of the moms in my area with Autistic children. I'm hoping that this next budget will have some more money for IBI, but I'm guessing it won't. Until then, things like this course are going to have to fill the void.