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Holly the Firefighter

At only four-years-old, Grandview kid Holly already knows what it’s like to accomplish big goals. Goals that when she first started therapy at Grandview Children’s Centre at only a year old, seemed fairly out of reach.

Holly began her journey at Grandview with Speech and Language Pathology. Holly’s mom, Kristen, began speaking to Holly’s Speech and Language Pathologist Robin about behaviours Holly was exhibiting that didn’t seem typical for her age.

“I recognized in Holly her communication. That she wasn’t talking, and I noticed it early on because my older daughter was also speech delayed. Holly really wasn’t speaking at all and wasn’t trying to speak. When she would speak, it was complete gibberish. You couldn’t understand any of it, so that’s why we started on that road,” says Kristen.

Holly’s Speech and Language Pathologist recommended that she be seen by a developmental pediatrician at Grandview and started the referral process.

“We saw Dr. Abby Siapno at Grandview who did her assessment and Holly was diagnosed with Autism,” says Kristen. “We had been preparing ourselves through our talks with Robin. It was looking like that was probably what was going to happen. It’s always a shock to hear it but we were expecting to hear it on some level as well.”

When it came to support after the diagnosis, Kristen says that Grandview was a “lifesaver.”

“They got me completely organized, we did all the seminars they recommended so we knew how to tackle the school, how to keep all her forms and doctor reports. I have a whole binder that they instructed me how to do. I wouldn’t be nearly as organized, and I feel like I have my head around things because they were so supportive,” says Kristen.

Now, Holly attends Grandview for Speech and Language Pathology as well as occupational therapy.

Holly just recently reached her latest speech goal, which was to speak in a sentence of at least ten words.

“In Occupational Therapy, the main focus right now is her pencil holding, because she’s behind in her fine motor skills and specifically has challenges with pencil grasp,” says Kristen. “[Grandview has] been fantastic. Robin especially, because we started from the very beginning in speech with Robin and Holly used to not communicate with anybody other than her immediate family, she wouldn’t make eye contact, wouldn’t engage. Robin was so supportive of her, let her do what she needed to do and didn’t push her and now Holly and Robin have a great relationship and Holly is super excited to see her.”

According to Kristen, Holly has made “leaps and bounds” in her progress.

“I believe it’s because she has had such great people in her life helping support her,” says Kristen. “They’ve given her all the tools that she’s needed to be successful. If you had seen her a year ago, she’s now totally different and excelling. We were not sure how things were going to go and with all the supports we’ve been given, and all of the strategies put in place and all of the work that we’ve done with her, she’s just blossomed, and she can do anything.”

Kristen says that Grandview has made a big impact on Holly’s life and progress.

“When you’re struggling with your child, that’s incredibly difficult and to face that alone, I can’t even imagine. As soon as Holly has her diagnosis, we had swarms of help,” says Kristen. “The prospect a year ago of her going to school, I couldn’t even comprehend that and she’s doing amazing. We’re very lucky and we’re so grateful for all the help we’ve had.”

Here at Grandview, we believe Holly can do anything she sets her mind to. This includes reaching her ultimate goal of becoming a Firefighter.

Recently, Holly got to give her dream a try with Chief Gord Weir at Clarington Emergency and Fire Services. With how quickly Holly has been reaching every single one of her therapy goals, we have no doubt she has big things, like becoming a Firefighter, ahead.

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