My name is Lara, am 36 years old, I am a sole parent (widowed) and have two kids a 9 year old daughter & 3 year old son. Both of my kids have been diagnosed with Autism. I share our autism journey via my blog & social media pages & by doing I am raising awareness & acceptance.
My kids both have a similar diagnoses but are completely different at the same time. I am planning on writing a children’s book about autism awareness/acceptance, as I feel there needs to be more understanding about a very misunderstood condition at the moment it is still in the brainstorming phase.
Natalie: What are some words to describe Allegra & Harrison? What do you love about them?
Lara: They are both very cheeky determined individuals, they always keep me guessing and keep life very interesting. The do say autism isn’t for the light hearted & I think my two kids make this statement true as they both have no fear.
Natalie: How did your journey begin with Allergra & Harrison begin? What was going through your heart and mind?
Lara: My introduction to autism was approximately 7 years ago when my daughter was diagnosed, I always sensed something but never assumed it was autism. I do believe if my daughter wasn’t already diagnosed my son probably would have gone on undiagnosed. Over the years I have learnt to trust my gut as most of the time it is always right.
Natalie: What is the name of the condition(s) that they have? Can you share with us a little more about it?
Lara: Firstly we have Allegra, she was my introduction to autism. She is 9 years old and was diagnosed with moderate autism and a severe language delay in October 2011. She has limited speech, but is starting to use her words more. She also has a communication device to express her needs. Allegra has the cheekiest grin and is a happy little lady most of the time. She also has anxiety & is a sensory seeker. She loves the rainbow colours, dancing, music and dress ups. When she first meets someone, she is very introverted, but once she lets her guard down you have a friend for life! She has made such amazing progress since her diagnosis and amazes me all the time!
Harrison is 3 years old and was diagnosed in August 2017 with moderate autism (level 2). He is verbal but still has a language delay. He also has echolalia of speech, which means he repeats a lot of what he hears. Even though he is verbal his speech is very scripted & repetitive. He is a sensory avoider & has a very low sensory threshold. He has a cheeky personality and the shortest temper. Harrison is a chameleon and hides his autism very well. I truly believe if his sister wasn’t diagnosed he probably would have just gone under the radar. Harrison loves his alphabet, numbers, cars, blocks and he absolutely loves his sister. His autism journey is still so new but he has made such progress in a small amount of time.
Natalie: What are your worries and wishes for Allegra & Harrison?
Lara: As a sole parent I would have to say my biggest concerns are what will happen to my kids once I am gone. At the same time it is so important to do all the ground work now and give them all the tools they need to live life to their fullest. With the NDIS rolling out in our area soon I feel we might actually be able to achieve this.
Natalie: I’m passionate about the special needs and self care connection. Raising a child with a medical condition or diagnosis can bring some big challenges, how do you cope? Are there any self care practices that helped you on your journey? How do you get through the tough days?
Lara: I am very lucky to have a very supportive family who have helped me through the tough days.
As a sole parent I don’t get a lot of me time or the weekends off , I can’t remember the last time I had a night off. This year is the first year I have had two kid free days as my son now attends 3 year old kinder & my daughter goes to school. It isn’t heaps of me time but in those kid free days I just make sure I do something just for me, sometimes I just sit down and watch a movie & put my feet up.
Natalie: What advice would you give a mum who is beginning her journey after receiving her child’s diagnosis?
Lara: Don’t be scared of the diagnosis, do as much research as you can, be informed & also find yourself a group of like minded people who can help you on the tough days.
Natalie: What are some lessons and blessings you have learnt since becoming their mum? How has it changed you as a person?
Lara: Autism has changed me as a person, but in the positive I have learnt so much since starting our autism journey. Patience would have to be the biggest lesson though.
Natalie: Do you have a favorite quote, prayer, or piece of miracle inspiration that you would like to leave us with?
“grow through what you go through” & “Que sera, sera”
Thank you so much Lara for sharing your journey with us.
If you would like to share your miracle moments and special needs journey, please get in touch here.
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