These 4 key products will save your dry skin this winter
These 4 key products will save your dry skin this winter

Jennifer McShane

Toastie of the town: 9 of the best, meltiest cheese toasties in Dublin
Toastie of the town: 9 of the best, meltiest cheese toasties in Dublin

Ali Dunworth

How to create an eco-friendly winter flower arrangement (that doesn’t look dead)
How to create an eco-friendly winter flower arrangement (that doesn’t look dead)

Lauren Heskin

The trailer for Paul Mescal’s new movie with Olivia Colman is here and it looks creepy good
The trailer for Paul Mescal’s new movie with Olivia Colman is here and it looks...

Lauren Heskin

‘I was raised by a single mam. Everything that she did was for us’: Singer Soulé on who inspired her new music
‘I was raised by a single mam. Everything that she did was for us’: Singer...

Sarah Finnan

3 old cottages that are brimming with potential for under €100,000
3 old cottages that are brimming with potential for under €100,000

Megan Burns

8 things no one told me about the first trimester
8 things no one told me about the first trimester

Lauren Heskin

The Budget contraception scheme still holds women in Ireland responsible for safe sex
The Budget contraception scheme still holds women in Ireland responsible for safe sex

Kate Demolder

‘Romy & Michele’ actress Cortney Wolfston on being fired while pregnant
‘Romy & Michele’ actress Cortney Wolfston on being fired while pregnant

Sarah Finnan

Ireland’s best autumnal forest walks
Ireland’s best autumnal forest walks

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”


by Meg Walker
02nd Apr 2019
“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”

As we mark World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, one mum of three living in Dublin shares what it’s really like – emotionally and financially – raising a child with autism…

Getting the diagnosis
Getting our son diagnosed had a bit of a rocky start. It took us a long time as a family to accept our son was different from everybody else. We first applied through the local nurse for an Assessment of Need, which offers medical advice in evaluating your child to see if they have any special needs. If they decide they do, you are referred onto the Early Intervention Team. We were lucky our son got his Early Intervention through the excellent help of Temple Street.

Support services we’re offered
Once your child is diagnosed early, you are offered a home tutor, who assists your child at home whilst they attend their preschool years. Once the child starts regular school, this tuition comes to an end. If you get your child diagnosed early, you go into what is called the Early Intervention Team. Here you are offered services from psychologists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. These different professionals will give you blocks of therapy, which you have to work on yourself at home to help your child evolve and work on challenges that exist.

A working mother of a child with special needs
We have tried with different options, ie crèche, childminders and au pairs. All these options were a challenge, as they all found it difficult to manage our son. Eventually, I decided to take Carer’s Leave – this is a state benefit you can avail of when you have a child with special needs, allowing you to take up to 104 weeks from work while availing of a career break. I took this leave to help my son improve in every way.

The financial and social reality that goes with raising a child with autism
Raising a child with autism or any other special needs does take its financial toll. We invested any extra savings we had into helping our son improve with private therapies – this is something we decided to do as a family, and it’s the best decision we ever made. Our son in those years has come on in leaps and bounds. If we had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Having a child with special needs has made us go into ourselves and lose a lot of our friends in the process. With all the work that has been put into our son the last few years, we are now coming out of our shell and starting to socialise, and are able to get out more.

Advice to others
What I would like to say to other people is, do not judge other people because you do not know what’s going on. Autism is an invisible disability. Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know. I’ve been very lucky to find a group of mums who are very understanding – they invite him over for playdates, they offer to mind him, but they either understood it or they have a child in the same situation. So don’t judge. If you see a parent with a child on the floor, what you can do is offer help instead of judging or giving remarks as you walk away.

Raising our son is a true gift
What I love about our son is his quirky sense of humour; he’s extremely generous, he’s thoughtful – he’s a little gentleman, he even opens doors for ladies. He’s an old man in a little boy’s body. He’s very affectionate – loves cuddles. He’s also extremely intelligent – he knows more than all of us put together. He self-taught himself every county of Ireland, all the countries, all the capital cities, all the planets – so he’s a smart little devil.

More support is needed
If I could wish for something, it would be that the HSE get more resources from the government to help more families in a similar situation. The waiting lists are very long, which is delaying the diagnosis of loads of children. Early intervention is crucial when it comes to autism, as the earlier you get the help, the more the child will evolve.

Children living with autism see the world from a different perspective, but want to play and interact with others the same way as any other child. All they need is the opportunity, patience and the support to get there.

 

For more information and ways you can help, visit autism.ie.

 

Photograph by Biljana Martinic, Unsplash

Also Read

“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”
premium EDITORIAL
Business Club members get your complimentary tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”
EDITORIAL
5 houseplants we guarantee you can keep alive

For those who buy houseplants with the best of intentions and end up killing them, here’s a selection you’ll be...

By Hannah Hillyer

“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”
EDITORIAL
Attending multiple weddings this year? How to save money as a guest

These days, going to a wedding is the equivalent of going on a short holiday in terms of cost. From...

By Jennifer McShane

“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”
EDITORIAL
Sarah Harding’s heartbroken mum announces the singer’s death aged just 39

Sarah Harding has died at the age of just 39, her heartbroken mother revealed today. The Girls Aloud star had...

By Amanda Cassidy

“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”
EDITORIAL
Trinity Tales: ‘Front Square was her garden, and the city was her playground’

Annie Gatling, now Colleran, knew Trinity College was for her when she saw Front Gate from the top storey of...

By Amanda Cassidy

“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”
EDITORIAL
Mandy Moore climbed an active volcano at dawn… while pumping

Hiking a mountain and breast pumping – now, that’s what we call multitasking at its finest. Mandy Moore enjoyed an...

By Sarah Finnan

“Our son is not a bold child – he’s the kindest person we know”
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh