Uncertain Beginnings to Endless Possibilities

My daughter Zoe who we fondly call Chip was referred to Children’s Integration Support Services (CISS) when she was around 3 years old. She has a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). She is now a thriving 19 year old young woman who is attending college and lives a busy active life.

The Early Years
Chip started child care at around two years of age. It was there that the staff noticed that she was having some challenges that should be investigated further. Her first diagnosis identified her as being developmentally delayed and I was told she would require full support for her entire life. A second diagnosis identified her as having PDD-NOS. Chip needed a significant amount of support during the preschool and school age years. She had difficulty communicating and became easily frustrated which would often lead to meltdowns. However, I always saw a great deal of potential in her and always pushed her to reach that potential. We had a great CISS resource consultant at that time who saw her the same way I did and provided an incredible amount of support and resources during that difficult time. Much of Chip’s later success is due to the rock solid support she received from the teaching team and the resource consultant during those critical early years.

The School Years
In Grade 1, I was told she was going to have to be placed in a system’s class for children with behavioural challenges. I did not agree with this, and ultimately moved her to a typical class environment with additional support. Once she got settled into a routine at school, things became easier. She had the same teacher for Grades 2, 3 and 4 who always believed in her. She worked with Chip and me so that my daughter would get the most out of her school experience.

Chip attended high school, where, despite taking non-credited resource classes in Grades 9 and 10, she was able to graduate in 4 years on track with her peers. This was a huge achievement for her, as she had to work very hard to make up for the credits she had missed by taking a summer course and by doing extra hours at her co-op placements.

Recreational and Life Experiences
Chip has taken many different types of recreational classes throughout her childhood and teens. She has always shown great talent for the arts. She has a great eye for detail and shows a great deal of talent for all types of visual arts, including sculpting, painting and photography. We traveled as a family to Florida, Venezuela and Cuba, Chip really enjoys experiencing new places.

Hopes and Dreams
Chip is currently in the Early Childhood Education program at Algonquin College. She is considering the Child Development program at Carleton University after she graduates from Algonquin. She loves children and definitely wants to work with them in some capacity in the future.