When I was asked to write something for the Parent’s Corner, I was deeply touched and excited to write about a company that has become like an extended family to my family. My son has been a patient at Fleming since February 2013 and he has gained so much from his time here.
As doctors have told me, my son Liam is “absolutely adorable, but an anomaly.” When he turned six months old, I knew something was wrong. I remember watching him at playgroups and noticing what was normal for other babies was not for him. At his 6, 9, and 12 month well baby appointments when I told the doctors of my concerns, I was called crazy and told I was just being a sensitive first time mom. Finally, at his 15 month well baby appointment, when Liam was still unable to walk, wasn’t talking, and wasn’t meeting 80% of the expected milestones we had a conversation with his doctor about therapies to assist him. Speech became the priority because he was barely able to communicate with us; we were referred to Fleming.
After six months at Fleming Liam was responding and using sign language to communicate, was beginning to understand commands and requests, and was beginning to use spontaneous actions to communicate his needs. At this same time my daughter was only a few months old and because of Liam’s “episodes” my daughter and I would spend most sessions back in the classrooms with Liam. The staff at Fleming never made me feel uncomfortable and always tried to accommodate Liam’s needs. Finally, after six months of therapy Liam was able to go back with his therapists alone. His speech therapists were the ones that suggested Occupational Therapy after observing Liam during his sessions and of course Fleming was eager to fit us in. His “episodes” returned so my daughter and I spent every OT session in the gym with him. Fleming became like a home away from home for my family and when I found out I was pregnant with baby #3 I jokingly asked for a cot in a back office since we were there so much. The OT’s didn’t think I was crazy when I described some of Liam’s oddities and they were the ones who informed me about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and ways to deal with it. Because of them, I developed a sensory toolkit for Liam that helped him adapt to new situations – such as new therapists, new surroundings, or any change that made him uncomfortable.
Our years at Fleming have not been easy and I know our time with them isn’t close to being over. At three, Liam was placed on the Autism Spectrum and now is in therapy five days a week – three of them at Fleming for Speech, OT, and now PT. The staff at Fleming has helped Liam overcome obstacles and learn to live a normal life even with his disabilities. Now, Liam can speak spontaneously, say 5-7 word sentences, jump, run, play on a playground and much more. We’ve been through several therapists while at Fleming and have never had one we don’t like. We love the staff at Fleming like family and value every tool, technique, or suggestion they make. They truly listen to my concerns and help me understand the best techniques to help Liam. Fleming has changed my son’s life and my family’s life and we are so incredibly grateful for every therapist that has helped Liam get to this point. We are looking forward to what this year brings!