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Rocky’s story shows the power of an early diagnosis, since being diagnosed he has been able to access invaluable autism-specific support and is attending an Aspect school. His world has been opened up and his needs are understood, allowing him to thrive.
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Many families are in urgent need of an early diagnosis, but simply can't afford it.
Rocky is a joyful, affectionate and caring little 6-year-old who adores his family.
He is fascinated by the ocean, and loves nothing more than exploring the shoreline and diving into the waves at his local beach - even in the middle of winter.
During his toddler years life started to change …
Rocky had delayed speech, and at two years old Rocky had a hearing test and began speech therapy. At this point, nobody had mentioned autism – to his parent’s Raegan and Craig, they thought Rocky was just a late talker.
When Rocky started preschool, his little world expanded from being just him and his family. Rocky found the new environment challenging and was non-verbal in the classroom.
Rocky’s preschool suggested the school psychologist could observe Rocky. The next morning, she gently suggested to Raegan, ‘I think you might be looking at autism.’
“I didn’t even know what autism meant,” recalls Raegan. “I just remember exhaling…feeling heartache and relief all at the same time.”
“But then I would look at Rocky and think, ‘you are such a healthy, loving, happy little boy. How can we help you?’ We knew if we embraced his diagnosis that would be the most positive step in helping Rocky.”
Please support children like Rocky, an early diagnosis opens up opportunities helping them to develop and thrive.
Discovering a new world
After Rocky received his assessment and diagnosis, his family were able to access NDIS funding and essential autism-specific support and therapy, which has been invaluable to his development.
Raegan says, “Our aim as Rocky’s family has always been to educate ourselves about life on the autism spectrum and do as much as we possibly can to support him”
For Rocky this specialist support included speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychology. Three years of tailored support has made an incredible difference to Rocky’s learning and regulation.
Every child on the autism spectrum is different, with unique strengths and interests. An autism assessment not only provides a diagnosis, but also access to the support services that help children like Rocky reach their full potential.
Help another child like Rocky dive into the joy of a different brilliant.
Rocky began attending an Aspect school in February this year.
“We are ecstatic that he’s in an Aspect school…we’re just lucky that he got accepted. He’s definitely in the right place to start his schooling. It’s super exciting,” explains Raegan.
With specialist support in an autism-specific learning environment, Rocky is communicating what he wants through his iPad (Proloquo2Go program), visual cards, and using simple sentences. He follows the daily structure of the classroom, and is eager to learn all about the pictures on his desk.
“A diagnosis is just the first step along the path in learning how to set up our beautiful boy for a happy life. Aspect are holding his hand with us on this new exciting chapter for him,” says Raegan.
Every child deserves the right to thrive and be understood.