Hi. Welcome to my blog :)
I wanted to write just a little about me. Some personal stuff that has made me who I am today. It's the reason I took up card making as a serious hobby and why I started this blog 'journey' of sorts...
I also wanted to write this to educate people. Not that I think you are dumb; but to make you aware that in this day and age, this kind of thing still happens.
Let me start by telling you a little about my daughter...
She had her quirks... don't get me wrong. She was the baby who got startled by loud noises - even sneezing would reduce her to tears. The toddler who took forever to eat anything - I'm talking an hour just for a tiny bowl of cereal. The young girl who needed you to hold her hand just to walk up or down a kerb, who cried and wouldn't settle the first night of any time we went on holiday, who loved her soft toys as though they were real and had feelings of their own...
She hated friend's birthday parties. They just weren't her thing. She would cope for about an hour then sit on my knee crying because she wanted to go home but desperately wanted the party bag with the small piece of cake, the sweets, balloon and the tiny toy that you only got if you stayed 'til the end.
She also took things to heart. When the school nurse came in to do a talk on 'healthy eating' it took weeks for me to persuade her that it was okay to have a treat every once in a while. The same school nurse did a talk on 'hand washing' just the year before that had her washing her hands so thoroughly her skin was raw to the touch.
Everything changed in Year 3, Primary School...
Most of the class had a nasty virus November of that year. My daughter took over two weeks to get over it. She was always unwell after that - just colds, etc... but you could guarantee that if there was an illness going around she would get it and it would knock her for six.
Her teacher that year wasn't a 'good fit' either. I had always told my daughter that as long as she worked hard and tried her best her teacher would like her. This teacher proved me wrong.
To make matters worse, she stopped eating at school. She kept saying it was too noisy, gave her a headache and made her feel sick. As I lived very close to the school I resorted to bringing her home to eat every lunchtime. She would often cry when I took her back in the afternoon. What was I supposed to do?
Then the nervous habit of 'swallowing air' and constant burping kicked in. This went on for several weeks and culminated in my daughter screaming in agony every day after her evening meal. I was often up with her until 1 or 2am every night.
Many trips to the doctor... and long story short, she ended up being admitted to a Children's hospital.
As I'm trying to keep this concise I'll skip over most of what happened over the next several weeks. She was in hospital throughout that time. They observed her, did some medical 'investigations', etc...
and concluded that I was emotionally abusing my daughter.
Our world's fell apart after that...
My husband and I were forced to have our 8 year old daughter admitted onto a psychiatric unit and threatened with the police and court action if we didn't comply.
We later found out that they chose this course of action as they didn't believe it was 'safe' for her to be at home with us - especially as it was the long six week break from school and there would have been no one 'to keep an eye on us'. That... and they thought the psychiatric unit was the best place for them to substantiate their claims against me as visits were strictly between 6-8pm Mon-Fri and 10-4pm weekends... and heavily monitored...
It was there, on the psychiatric unit, that we were told our daughter was on the Autistic Spectrum. It took them less than a week to diagnose her.
She stayed day and night at the unit for 2 weeks, then day release for another two whilst they gained their medical evidence to substantiate their diagnosis, clear my name and let our daughter come home to us.
But by then the damage was done...
This summer will be 5 years since all of that happened. We all still carry the scars. It took me 4 years just to begin to get myself back on track, to smile again.
As for my daughter... I would say the same for her... She came out of hospital a completely different child, a fragile 'shell' of her former self.
Our lives are very different now. We rarely go out anywhere as my daughter can't cope with the glare from the sun, the smells from outside, the bugs... and forget about eating out with all of those food smells.
My husband hates me saying it but the Donna that existed before all of this died. She simply doesn't exist anymore
This is why I took up card making. My 'therapy time'...
It took me more than a year to brave 'blog land' with all of it's talented people, though.
Now I enter competitions, but not for the prizes... Just to give myself a goal, something to focus on. Maybe that sounds lame, but it works for me :)
If you do a quick internet search online you will see that this is still continuing to happen to other families. Parents are STILL being falsely accused of child abuse simply because the 'professionals' don't stop to think that there could be other reasons for a child's behaviour.
Autism in girls is not so rare - it's just different to boys a lot of the time.
What the professionals saw as signs of abuse were simply my daughter being my daughter. Like I had any control over that?
Maybe one day they'll catch up... but how many more families are they going to damage in the process?
If you've read this... thank you. I know it's not pleasant to read about and that some may well 'judge me'... but I would far rather educate people than have them think that it's no big deal to put families through this kind of trauma.
Wishing you all the very best...