Updated: Jul 11
in 2009 believe it or not a psychic told me (another bit about me I’ll touch on one day) I was about to have a career change for a very special reason. At that time, I thought nothing of it I worked as a Marketing Exec and didn’t plan on any changes anytime soon. Monday came, there was a letter on my desk, to find out, due to the current climate at the time, our office was closing and we were all being made redundant. So, admittedly between speaking to customers, I was emailing recruiters about jobs and applying for whatever I could. I shortly heard back regarding a support worker role and was invited to interview. Following this, I got the job on the spot working with adults with autism in the community. Quite a career change I might add! I met some truly amazing people along the way and the people I cared for taught me so much, for which I’m very grateful. I then fell pregnant with my eldest and night shifts/weekends became tiring towards the end but little did I know why I was meant to fall into that job!
Road to diagnosis
It’s a long road....with an unwritten destination. For any parent who has fought through the hoops, repeated themselves a million times to try and teach some understanding, will know exactly what I mean. Muddling through a backward system is not for the week-kneed. First we see a doctor, then have a hearing test..light years later which you know is fine.. then to SLT. A few more months later..a speech therapist who told me “I’m under qualified for this.” That wasn’t the most reassuring thing I’d heard all week!! After all that wait then why am I here?! I remember the waiting area was like a library and I felt so grateful he loved books & my boy was managing in there with other kids running around and parents chatting away, although a few times dashing for the automatic doors! I watched other mums chatting away with no worry about their children running off or becoming distressed at lights or noise. I remember how grateful I felt just to be in the building as long as I had been! Although I couldn’t join in with chat with the other parents, before darting for the door, I remember thinking, wow they have no idea, but it wasn’t their fault they were just unaware. I was too taken up in the fact that I was nailing it and kind of ‘queueing up’ in that moment to feel upset that it was harder for us, which is a real gift in itself. I didn’t take anything for granted, that’s a real gift that shows itself sometimes, harder days can be outweighed with gratitude for their happiness and the smallest but massive achievements!
After her unhelpful comment, I have to say I managed to hold it together because my son was itching to leave her tiny room....so was I to be fair. “Can you put the red envelope in the post box?”. No love, he just wants to take your posters off the wall to make you laugh and engage in his play😂..
I wanted educate her, and show her how much fun you can have when you join their world! But I decided she had no awareness of autism which made me feel sad and I was lucky to find anyone that did, but when I did it was great. Online groups were so small in the ASD group back then I found some lovely ladies at other play/sensory groups too. I’m pleased the world has come on a little bit, however, awareness and understanding are two different things. I’d like to say professionals know more these days but we really do have a long way to go, so does the government in funding these opportunities so parents don’t have such a long wait for diagnosis just so they can be taken seriously. I never did find any bright, positive and happy children’s books to celebrate their differences either - which is one little change I did make in the world. When I asked the lady in the book shop in 2013 she said “sorry we don’t stock that sort of book..”others would say “No sorry” without having to look on their computer. so I created “My Awesome Autism” When we needed it. By this time I wasn’t the only parent who had became an author for this reason, the more of us the better. I will carry on adding as much positivity about autism into the world, celebrating their differences, individual talents and eye opening way of thinking. Celebrating autism in a positive light daily.
Press at the moment...It’s
highlighted in the press right now about the wait for a diagnosis, there are so many people in the same boat as I was, paddling against a tsunami. Months maybe years of waiting & explaining to different people signs and little ways you’ve spotted, mentioning it’s completely fine but you need the diagnosis to access any understanding going forward. For people to tell you ”there’s nothing wrong with your child”... “yes I know that thanks very much”...All that wait and then when you finally receive a diagnosis, mum guilt, waves of upset and a wonder about the future kick in, some relief too.
Slowly but surely in the process you become that mum, you find a strength you didn’t know you had within you, you can flip from being superhero to mary poppins in seconds, multitask like you’ve ever done in any job, suck up the tears and walk away from a meeting thinking “jeez did I really say that..”. Starting school was another milestone of matters and that’s when book 4 was born ..
I’m eternally grateful for the person my children have made me, which only they would ever have had the power to do. The reason behind My Awesome Autism
I join many others in saying I want nothing more than to raise understanding of autism and for people to see it positively as a difference in which the brain works & how we all view things just like in our visual appearances. We celebrate so many other differences.. It’s great for children to be in a book shop and visually see books on autism, this is so heartwarming! Books with smiley faces on the front, reassuring them to celebrate who they are enhancing children’s confidence, more so for the public who do not experience it within their family to normalise this understanding too. Autism is a truly beautiful gift to humanity teaching the world to celebrate who you are, help and be kind to one another. Their lens can be amazing to try and look through spotting things you may not have done before. 💙📚😍