Child Development Centre saves Comox Valley family

CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE assistance has meant the world to Patricia Rousseau and her family, which includes two autistic boys. - Mark Allan
CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE assistance has meant the world to Patricia Rousseau and her family, which includes two autistic boys.
— image credit: Mark Allan

The Comox Valley Child Development Centre saved her family, according to Patricia Rousseau.

Rousseau’s first two children are autistic. She brought her first son to the CVCDC in 2008.

He and her next son had no language skills initially, so speech occupational therapy was the first step, followed by supportive child development, “which takes children from three on until they hit school age.”

Her first son entered the JumpStart program at Courtenay Elementary School, which prepares children for school. He’s now in Grade 1.

“Child Development supported us through it all,” she said, including getting him diagnosed.

The CVCDC also helped speed up some lags in government paperwork, she said. “They smoothed it out and got us there faster.”

Her second son, who was diagnosed with autism this past May, began at age two in the CDC’s infant development program and is still receiving occupational speech therapy at the CDC.

Otherwise, he’s in a home-based program because Rousseau and husband Richard, a search and rescue technician at CFB Comox, have a younger daughter.

“When we need some help with how to do our home program, we come here and use the resources and they help us to navigate through the system.

Patricia said the CVCDC was flexible in welcoming her need for a home-based program.

“Some centres want you to bring everything to the centre every time,” she noted. “They (CVCDC) said, ‘We’ll support you where you need to be.’ They are extremely flexible and supportive.”

The CDC, which Rousseau described as personable, even helped the Rousseaus to acquire funding for their home-based program.

And, since some autism resources are expensive, the CDC has allowed the Rousseaus to “test drive” some to evaluate their effectiveness on their sons before purchasing.

Patricia said she runs an autism support group, which the CDC allows to meet the first Wednesday of each month in its building at 237 Third St. in Courtenay.

Long story short?

“They saved us,” a grateful Rousseau said of the CVCDC.

For details about the Comox Valley Child Development Centre, visit

The CDC’s largest fundraiser of the year is a variety telethon broadcast live from the Old Church Theatre this Sunday from noon to 8. A record amount of $109,935 was raised at last year’s 35th annual event.

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