Living with Autism - Dexter's Story

“I thought if I ever left Dexter with anyone other than myself, his father or his grandmother, I feared he wouldn’t survive”.

Constantly worried about her son’s development and other potential health issues, it wasn’t until Dexter was diagnosed with Autism that mum Louise, recognised that his inability to be separated from her, was becoming a real problem.

During previous attempts to have Dexter cared for by someone else, Louise vividly recalls he would ‘melt down’, screaming and crying while calling out for mummy or mummy’s car. Eventually, Louise became convinced that Dexter wouldn’t survive if she tried again.

Tired and worried Louise called the Early Intervention services at Windermere, who assessed her situation over the phone and put her in touch with Sarah, a family worker. Sarah recommended that both Louise and Dexter try Ready for Routines, a fun, structured group to assist with transitioning and following routines for children heading to kinder.

On their first visit, Louise was able to leave Dexter for less than three minutes before being called back. While upsetting, they persisted and gradually Louise was able to see that both of them could cope apart. More importantly for Dexter, he learnt that his much loved Mum would always come back to him.            

Having completed the group program, Dexter can now be separated from Louise for periods of time and this has carried over into other areas of their life. Louise can now leave Dexter in the car with his father while she pops into a shop – something that was previously impossible. Louise is now able to start looking for family day care or a vacancy at an early learning centre that can accommodate Dexter and an aide so he can ready himself for kinder and school.

“I was scared and didn’t think it would work” said Louise, “Other people should try it, push themselves like I did. There was a great, long term outcome for both Dexter and I.”

If you think you and your child could benefit from the Ready for Routines group held at Berwick Community Centre, please contact Suzy on 9709 6900.

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