In 2012, Mick and I relocated our family from Melbourne to the relaxed, coastal town of Tannum Sands in Central Queensland. We loved it and decided it was a great place to settle. Mick had a great job, Amelia, 4, was happy and getting ready for her first year of kindergarten, and Archie….well Archie was Archie. We were worried but we weren’t entirely sure whether we should be. He just wasn’t really doing anything.
Archie was almost 2 and wasn’t talking. He was unable to point or communicate any of his needs in any way other than screaming! So, he would scream and throw tantrums all day. He was violent, unhappy and would cry all day and most days, I would join him. We were housebound. Fast forward to a few weeks of intense reading and research, we booked consultations with Occupational Therapists, Doctors, Speech Therapists and finally a Paediatrician. There are very few services for children in central Queensland. Archie was diagnosed on the spot at the age of 2, with Autism and a severe speech and language delay.
Our lives changed that day and so did all of our ‘’five year plans”. After much internet research, talking it over with family, we decided on Little Souls. We knew this was the best place in Australia and the best place for Archie. After a painfully long and anxious nine months we were accepted into Little Souls and Archie would start January 2014. We sold our property and many of our belongings so that we could fund relocating and the costs of therapy. Mick has had to take a job working away from us in WA so we can commit to the price of Early Intervention. As emotional as it is on all of us being apart, seeing our son enjoying life and engaging with us far outweighs the challenges of being apart. Amelia has started her first year of school and is a busy five year old.
I used to say to family and friends that it was as though Archie hated being here in our world, but now I can honestly say he loves being here. He is super cheeky, has a great sense of humour and he is allowing all the people around him see that more and more. Archie started Little Souls with 10-15 words and now he is chatting away, learning to read and write, and making new friends. I actually look at him and say to myself, ‘He is going to be ok!’
I can’t wait for 2015 because this year has been so life-changing and I can’t wait to see what Archie conquers next.