Living in a remote town in regional New South Wales, William’s family have had their fair share of challenges.
William was initially referred to Royal Far West in 2019, due to significant concerns regarding his behaviour and emotional regulation. He struggled to control his behaviour and reactions if he was told “no”, or if there was an unexpected change. He was quick to become aggressive towards his siblings and destructive around the house.
“William has specific routines which he insists on following. He must shower before going to bed, otherwise he will refuse to go to bed. He must say goodbye to his father in the morning and will have a meltdown if not,” William’s mum Jane told us.
Sadly, due to long waiting lists on our Paediatric Developmental Program (PDP), William was not seen by the multidisciplinary team until 2020. These appointments took place via Telehealth due to Covid restrictions. At this time the multidisciplinary team William was assessed to have difficulties with inattention and hyperactivity, sensory sensitivities, an extremely restrictive diet, features of separation anxiety, and difficulties with social communication.
In the following year, William’s family was only able to access limited Occupational Therapy sessions via Community Health to support his emotional regulation. The infrequent sessions were due to severely limited funding and a lack of Occupational Therapists in their local area. During this time, his separation anxiety amplified, to the point where his mum had to take a job at the same school.
Sadly, his behaviour in the classroom deteriorated too. He would have daily meltdowns. His mum described it as an “explosion” in the car on the way home from school every day. This was taking a significant toll on the whole family.
Fortunately, William was able to come to Manly in-person late last year to complete assessment. He completed a range of assessments and was diagnosed with ASD level 2, a level of Autism requiring substantial, daily support.
As a result of the diagnosis, William will be able to access regular OT and Psychology sessions without putting financial strain on the family. This will not only support his emotional regulation and his separation anxiety, but his overall well-being.
His mum, Jane, has shared that she was relieved with the diagnosis. She felt she was finally being listened to and that the team understood the challenges she was facing on a daily basis, a sentiment echoed to us often. She also shared in a feedback session, that she was utilising several strategies provided to her from RFW for regulation – and that these were helping immensely.
*Names and some elements of the story have been changed to protect the privacy of our client families.