12 Wing firefighter thanks MFRC and IWK staff
By Ryan Melanson,
When Cpl Kwaku Amoateng’s son Jordan was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, the news was overwhelming. He was concerned about Jordan’s education and development in the years ahead, and unsure where to turn for the help his family needed.
Now, at eight years old, Jordan is a happy child who’s attending school and making significant progress, and his father recently offered a special thank-you to a few people who were instrumental in helping him reach this point.
Cpl Amoateng dropped in at the Halifax & Region MFRC’s Shearwater location just before the holiday break to present Autism Nova Scotia plaques to a number of staff who have been working with Jordan in recent years as he attended the MFRC Casual Care program, as well as programs at the Shearwater Children’s Centre. He specifically thanked team members Audrey Bowen, Melissa Clark, RoseAnn Martin-Burns and Jessica Kent, and also presented a plaque to H&R MFRC Executive Director Shelley Hopkins acknowledging the entire organization.
Cpl Amoateng, who works as a firefighter at 12 Wing, said he wanted to highlight that the MFRC provides more than just daycare services for the children who attend their programs, with caring staff who are trained in early childhood education and development. In Jordan’s case, the MFRC’s focus on inclusion also meant that he was always included in activities like skating, swimming or field trips, with staff always ready to make accommodations or adaptations as needed.
Through the MFRC, Cpl Amoateng and Jordan were also introduced to the IWK Health Centre and its Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) team, who focus on developing functional social communication skills for children with special needs. Spending time with the IWK specialists was another key factor in getting Jordan prepared to start school. Dr. Dorothy Chitty from the EIBI team was also on hand to accept a plaque thanking her and her colleagues for their work.
“He’s come a long way and he’s shown a lot of improvements. The MFRC and the EIBI team really helped kickstart that for him, which was crucial for us,” Cpl Amoateng said.
“I know teachers and people who work with children can be under-appreciated, but their work is so important and I wanted to recognize that,” he added.
Cpl Amoateng said he’s also expecting letters directly from Autism Nova Scotia to be sent to the MFRC and IWK team members, offering an extra thanks for their work with Jordan and other children on the autism spectrum.