Dear Pauline. 

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts after hearing the disgusting words Pauline Hanson stated about children on the autism spectrum. 
We have three amazing children on the spectrum. Our eldest, Dex happened to start school this year. Dex was diagnosed last year, just in time for early intervention. 
He struggled a lot with sensory issues such as loud, sudden noises, textures and smells. He would get a drop of water on him from his drink bottle and become extremely distressed, crying and running to hide. If he heard a loud noise, he would run away crying, looking for shelter to hide under. If he even SAW creamy textures such as glue, sunscreen or thickened cream he would start gagging to the point he’d nearly throw up. 
We struggled finding a school for Dex. I was worried he’d be bullied, he’d get lost in the system in the massive school we are zoned to and his speech scores were too high to go to a specialist school or support centre. My last resort was to home school, but I was worried he’d not get the best opportunities for his education if I were to home school. 
After a smaller MAINSTREAM school was mentioned to us that wasn’t zoned, we went to check it out. I immediately felt a calm rush over me. We enrolled him that day and he started grade prep there this year. 
Within a week of him beginning our entire family noticed a MASSIVE difference in Dex. The biggest stand out memory was on a hot day at his grandparents house, he was dipping his head in a bucket of water, drenching himself while fully dressed. My husband and I had never seen him do this, and I remember us both looking at each other thinking sending him to school was already the best choice we’d made for him. I had a lump in my throat, holding back the happiest tears. 
From there, he kept smashing hurdles. The meltdowns became less frequent. The sensory aversions became less severe and the amount of aversions have reduced. He is one of the top readers in his class and he went from crying at the sight of buttons on clothing to wearing it everyday. Yesterday he even ate CREAM on the side of the cake he had at a cafe, but I had expected him to look at it and start gagging! He has overcome his fear of sand and the beach and ran around with his brother and sister on the beach yesterday!! 
A lot of these hurdles he’s overcome are thanks to him attending mainstream school. 
So, Senator Hanson. I challenge you to find a parent of autistic children who Day by day isn’t trying to give their kids the best for them. The most opportunities for them. The best education within their means. 
Pauline Hanson, OUR CHILDREN deserve EQUITY. OUR CHILDREN are no less deserving of an education than a neurotypical child. If you’ve met one person on the spectrum you’ve only met one person on the spectrum. Each individual will benefit differently and that includes the option of mainstream school. Autistic people (or people with autism depending on what the individual prefers) ARE NOT A BURDEN. I invite you to come and see for yourself. ✌🏼


Fill Your Cup.

Unconditional love. They talk about it when it comes to parents showing unconditional love to their kids, but you never hear of the love these children show their parents. 

Lately I’ve been on a journey to find myself again, and to take care of myself. After my beautiful Nana passed away nearly two years ago now, I just gave up on myself. I became someone I didn’t know because I didn’t know myself without her, and I just stopped doing anything for myself. My grief consumed me, and from that point on our lives became harder as time went on. 

We had all three of our children diagnosed with ASD and then my days became running from psych appointments to OT appointments, to speech appointments and from kindy runs to school runs. So I let my cup drain and become completely dry. But for us to fill our families cups when our own cups are empty, is just impossible. So mums, take notice. Because it took me far too long to accept that for my family to be happy, I need to be too. For too long I saw it as being selfish and how dare I want to be a real person. 🙈 I’m a mum! How dare I exist outside of that “mum” world? So I’m trying to keep my cup at least half full so I have enough to share. 

To fill my cup, I’ve been trying to get to the gym and take care of my body as much as possible because for the longest time I’ve always come last. And I’m not just talking about “just behind everyone else by a hair” last. I’m talking everyone has packed up, gone home and gone to bed after the race while I’m still heading for the finish line. So now that I’ve seen that my needs are equally as important, I’m happier and healthier. And my kids who have seen me at my worst, and then trying to get to my best, have loved me and supported me this whole time. (And asking me if I went to an exercise gym or a Pokémon gym 😂) That is unconditional love. It’s not just about the parents showing it. It’s mutual. 

So parents, grandparents and carers, don’t ever think that doing something for you means that your kids are being let down or that they’re going to be worse off. The fact of the matter is that we all need a break sometimes. We all need to feel that glimpse of “holy shit I am actually a person and have an identity!” to keep our heads above water. It doesn’t make you a bad parent or a bad person. It makes you A HUMAN BEING. And if you see your partner struggling a little bit, TELL THEM they need a break. Send them out for some “me” time. We all need it. I know I did. 😘

We Have Progress! 

What a day and what a week! 

Dex has newly been diagnosed with ASD, which has explained so much of what he has been experiencing and struggling with for a long time. He struggles daily with sensory issues, so loud noises, textures and things that would normally make others uncomfortable, are very painful or distressing for him. 
One of the things that distresses him the most is haircuts. Anyone only has to say the word “haircut” towards him, and he becomes anxious and a lot of the time will scream and hide. So for a while we haven’t even mentioned the word, never mind suggest he have one. I mean, it’s only hair right? Not a big deal if his hair is long. 

Well, last night we were talking with Kingston about haircuts, and that he could have a surprise egg after his next one. Well, Dex overheard and told me that he wants a surprise egg and a haircut too. I took it with a grain of salt. If he wanted one, great! If not, fine with me too. So we spoke about it, with no anxiety and no concern except that he only wanted scissors to be used and no water spray. We looked on good Ol’ Pinterest and found a few cuts he liked. Something I’ve learned along the way of raising a child with anxiety is when you include them in the process, they feel much more comfortable and are able to feel more in control of the situation. This is definitely helps Dex every day. So off we went to bed with excitement and wonder. 
The next day, we went to our local shopping centre and again, inviting him into the decision making, let him choose which salon we would go to. At first he was nervous, so we sat down in their waiting area and I told him we would just sit and look around, because he takes time to warm up to new surroundings. After about 10 minutes, the hairdresser came and spoke to us and asked Dex if he was ready for his haircut. He told her “maybe just one more minute and I’ll be ready!” I loved that he was able to verbalise his feelings and again feel as though he had control over the whole process. If he in the end decided he was too scare for one, we would’ve left and waited for another time. But after thirty seconds had passed, he decided he was ready to get into the chair! This was a HUGE deal in itself because I don’t even remember the last time he sat in a hairdresser’s chair. By now my nerves and excitement had kicked in. As they put the cape on him my heart started pounding for him. Would he start to get anxious? Would he meltdown because his little body and mind doesn’t handle these types of things well? Dex looked over at the little trolley with all their equipment and I could see in his face he was unsure. He told the hairdresser, Jess, “only scissors, OK?” And she promised him, only scissors. I could see his shoulders drop as though he could relax now. 

Dex was a champion. He sat there with a smile on his face literally the whole time. He even told Jess “I need you to cut more around my ears, I want to see my ears, oh and my eyes cut more there too.” I watched in amazement and had a giggle to myself as he stated to her, quite calmly and almost like an adult, exactly what he wanted. He used his manners, he kept telling her how good it looked and when she had finished he was SO excited. He high fived Jess the hairdresser who told him how proud she was of him. I think almost everyone he told about his haircut told him how proud they were of him! And so they should be. 

This little boy, who has had a massive fear of even the word “haircut” or being asked if he wanted a haircut overcame huge anxiety and sensory complications and took control of the situation. For any five year old I think that’s pretty freaking amazing. But for Dex, for who he is, this is a HUGE deal. For him and for those who love him. I couldn’t have been prouder for the way he dealt with today. We’ve overcame a hurdle today and we have many more to come. But one step at a time, and this was a big one. 

(Dex wears his new hairstyle by Jess, LilPigz jelly frames glasses, Target Star Wars hoodie and FromZion harems.)