This may come as a surprise, but I had no idea how much Max's therapy bills would total for 2010. I figured it was a lot, based solely on the fact that Scott and I have decent paying jobs yet still manage to have bank account balances starting with a "-" sign. This year's grand total of $65,575.50 is a lot more than 2009's Autism therapy total bill of $52,041. The reason for the increase is that when Max started IBI therapy in 2009 it took about 6 months for him to ramp up to full time IBI hours (21 per week).
You may be wondering, how the heck do you rack up over $65,000 in therapy bills for one kid? Max receives speech therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, and behavioural therapy. Add to that psychological assessments and senior therapist planning hours and you land north of $65k. Interestingly enough, the IBI funding we will be getting through Erinoak for Max is $40,000 per year, leaving us to cover the difference.
|2010 Walk Now For Autism in Toronto|
Because of Max's intensive early intervention he has experienced incredible progress. He is starting to use language expressively (including a spontaneous 7 word sentence just this morning). He is learning how to play with his sister (I dare say they have a fairly typical sibling relationship). Max is starting to follow instructions and has shown he knows how to do things like tease and manipulate when it suits him. It is all very exciting and gives us tremendous hope for his future development.
But there is so much more work that needs to be done. I would be a bold face liar if I told you that Max will not continue to need intensive therapy for years and years to come. Because we have exhausted all of our personal funding resources, we have cut back on things like Music therapy (Max's favourite) and now have Occupational therapy only to address specific priority issues so that we can ensure he gets enough Speech therapy and Behaviour therapy. If I had the means, I would spend $100,000 a year on therapy for Max. But I don't, so we do our best as a family to get Max the essentials. Also, without the generous support of all of our family, we would not be in a position to get Max this life saving therapy.
|2009 Walk Now For Autism in Toronto|
This year we are helping raise money for both National Service Dogs and Autism Speaks. The money we raise for National Service Dogs will be used to provide direct funding for Max's own service dog (who will be joining our family in Fall 2012). The money we raise for Autism Speaks will go towards supporting research, family services, public awareness and advocacy. Thanks to our friends, family, and readers we have raised almost $10,000 through the Walk Now For Autism events in 2009 and 2010. I hope when I reach out for support this year you will be feeling just as generous! Remember - it isn't only for Max, but the 1 in 70 boys being diagnosed with Autism.