Wednesday 28 August 2019

Who is the family behind Raising My Little Superheroes?

It's been a while since we've done this and we've just hit 5000 likers on one of our social media sites! So who is the family behind Raising My Little Superheroes?

My name is Jenni and I'm a mum of two gorgeous little superheroes. Well, we think they're gorgeous, but then again we are biased. O is now 10 and L is now 7. My husband is Scott. But at times I do wonder if I have two or three children!

O is thriving at school and loving life in general. Over the last three years, she has become more and more articulate in describing how she feels, thinks and views the world. O's intense interest is still anything and everything to do with space and she has added science to her interests as well. This year, she was accepted into the Australian Girls Choir and she absolutely loves it. O is very creative and loves to express herself through song, so the Australian Girls Choir is perfect for her.

L is also thriving at school, he's still not a fan of going to school but he is thriving. In 18 months L has worked his way from below average academically to on average with his peers. We've always said to both O and L, that their grades at school really do not worry us. As long as they both put as much effort as they can into school, that is all that matters. And boy, have both O and L put in a lot of effort at school. L is still into all things superheroes, and probably always will be. 

It has been over three years since we started on this Autism journey. But our journey really started when L was born. From the moment that L arrived on earth side, we knew that he was a different baby. He was completely different from O and also from other babies that we met at our local playgroup. Scott and I knew that he was different, but didn't exactly know what the difference was. We did question many professionals in the medical and education field as to whether he could be Autistic and was told that no, "he's just a naughty boy, he's being a typical boy, it was our parenting style, he's just slow because he has an older sister who does everything for him ...." and many other reasons. None of which made us as parents feel good about ourselves.

L was non verbal until the age of three. At three, he spoke a grand total of roughly 20 words. At three years of age, I took him back to our GP and was in tears because L was having a meltdown and I couldn't help him. L was having a meltdown over not being allowed to play on the busy road outside the surgery. Our GP agreed that L was different than other children his age and immediately referred us to our pediatrician. Much to our relief our pediatrician agreed that L was different and gave a provisional ASD diagnosis. We received his official diagnosis of a DSM V level 2 ASD in 2016, L was three and a half.

Thus began our Autism journey.

While going through L's ASD assessment, Scott recognized a lot of L's traits in himself so off he went to be assessed and low and behold, Scott was given an ADHD diagnosis in 2017.

O at this stage was 7. As a baby, O reached all her developmental milestones early. We knew that she was academically gifted but we didn't suspect that she was on the spectrum. She was, and still is, a very anxious child. After L's diagnosis, we began to see some ASD traits in O and each time we questioned as to whether O was also on the spectrum, we were told that she couldn't possibly be because she's very social and makes eye contact.

We were however referred to a child psychologist for her anxiety because we were struggling to help her manage her anxiety. During her second session, her psychologist said "you need to get O assessed, she's definitely on the spectrum."

So off we went on the assessment path again. Low and behold, six months later O was given a DSM V level 2 ASD diagnosis! We were expecting the diagnosis as all the way through her assessment, the speech therapist and psychologist told us that yes O is on the spectrum. Her DSM V level floored us as we'd missed all her traits. O was and still is a master at masking her ASD traits.

During O's ASD assessment I realized that I could have been answering the questions about myself. O is my mini-me. I broached the subject several times with the professionals who were doing her assessment and was told "I can spot an Aspie a mile away!"

As well as ASD, both O and L have sensory processing difficulties, anxiety (O was recently diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder,) and a myriad of other health conditions.

I haven't pursued a diagnosis for myself because other than getting a piece of paper that would explain my childhood and how I felt as an outsider up until quite recently, it really wouldn't benefit me. I'd prefer to put my efforts into assisting my little superheroes on their journey. Also three out of four in our family have a diagnosis!!

I started my blog on the 28th of August 2016 (yep, we're also celebrating our third blogiversary!) as a means of clearing my thoughts, writing for me is my therapy, but also to spread a little Autism awareness and acceptance. We struggled to find support when we first began on this journey and I wanted to let other families and individuals know that support is out there. 

I don't want to see children, or adults, being left behind because they're different or quirky or don't fit into the mould that they're expected to fit into.

If you've read this far, thank you for joining us on our journey. It can be crazy, fun filled, coffee injected ride, but it's our life and I wouldn't change anything for the world.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on my blog. I do read all the comments that are posted. Thanks so much for stopping by. Jen xx