Sydney — Despite the increasing and relentless efforts of advocates and families of children with autism to raise awareness about the developmental disorder, it seems like society still hasn’t done enough in helping children struggling with autism spectrum disorder.
With news of children with autism being locked away in cages or put in ‘pig pens’ by no less than educators themselves, the persistent problem of discrimination against children with disabilities is, sadly, still very relevant and apparent.
Add to that the struggle of having to find these children the help that they need, which, even nowadays, is still scarce — mothers caring for them definitely have a lot to endure.
Among these mothers is Katie, whose daughter, Mia, has not received an autism diagnosis until she turned six years old — thereby missing out on early interventions, which is said to be crucial in helping children on the spectrum reach their full potential.
In an interview with news.com.au, Katie told:
“She was diagnosed in May but we’ve been looking for answers since she was in kinder. She had separation anxiety, she preferred the company of adults. She was having difficulty with change and being very literal, but no one suggested autism — it wasn’t even a consideration.”
Autism in young girls is extremely rare and sometimes nearly ‘asymptomatic’, which is likely why clinicians, at times, overlook the condition in young girls.
Katie eventually decided to start a social group called ‘Yellow Ladybugs’, where parents attempt to bridge the gap between the young girls with autism and the society they live in. According to Katie:
“I’ve had parents in tears at events, saying they’re so happy to meet other parents going through the same thing. Their child’s not standing out any more. Hopefully this group can stay together throughout their lives.”
Another mother who very much knows the struggle of having a child on the spectrum is Talia Tamou.
In an interview with news.com.au, she shared:
“He seemed like a normal, happy little child, he could say hello, mum, dad, dog and other first baby words, then it was as if he forgot.
“He stopped interacting with other children and he was so focused on one certain toy, in our case it was items with wheels, he would spin the wheels on the lawnmower for hours or he would line up his toy cars from biggest to smallest or in color order.”
Eventually, Talia’s son, Jaylen, was diagnosed with moderate autism and was given extensive speech therapy. Today, he is able to speak in complete sentences, and is set to attend kindergarten next school year under a special education program. Talia shared:
“His attitude has changed with a good solid routine, meals low in sugar and preservatives and getting out and interacting with children his own age.”
What’s perhaps doubly harder than raising a child on the spectrum is raising two children with the same developmental condition. And this is exactly what Kylie Ouvrier is doing.
Her son, Ben, is high-functioning. Because of that, his Asperger’s remained undetected until he turned seven years old.
Aside from the struggles that come with his condition, Ben was also being bullied at school.
According to Kylie:
“When things were really bad with the bullying he was sitting behind the rubbish bins hiding, and the school didn’t realize for weeks.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough, her other son, Nathan — who is four years younger than Ben — was also diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Kylie recalled:
“Nathan would run into walls over and over, he couldn’t understand that it would hurt. Plus he had a temper. It was really, really hard.”
Kylie also realized that there is a lapse in the educational system that makes the struggle even harder for children with autism. She told:
“Nathan went to an autism-specific school for a year and a half and it made a huge difference, but once he was in a mainstream school, they don’t have the training.”
Kylie believes something needs to be done to make sure that teachers are capable of dealing with children with disabilities properly— and this sentiment of hers is echoed by many others all across the globe.
Source: news.com.au: Mothers reveal what it’s really like to have a child with autism