WHO AM I
Hi I’m Diana, Di for short. I am ‘just a mum’ in other words I spend copious amounts of my own time and personal energy maximising the wellbeing and development of my two little blessings. My priorities became glaringly clear back in 2012 when my eldest was formerly diagnosed as Autistic. Our journey is not unique and I am so grateful for all the people who’ve come into our life since that point in time. I have an amazing Husband who supports us and our unique lifestyle, an incredible son who has been his own biggest asset in growing with Autism, and a brilliant little girl who has her own challenges to overcome and does so with a zest for life that is beautiful to see. Oh and the biggest, blackest cat who has become a valuable part of our home and therapy program (he makes a great weighted lap blanket). This crazy ride is all taking place in the Northern Suburbs of Sydney Australia in a small townhouse that seriously is 2 rooms short of what we need. It’s a messy, noisy and unconventional home nestled amongst the conformity of suburbia, but its happy and full of laughter and love. What more could you ask for?
WHY AM I DOING THIS
I have personally benefited from the fact that others have taken the chance to stand up and raise their voices, through blogs, articles, stories and more. The simple act of sharing ones journey with another and having that moment of understanding. Being able to talk to others at different points along the way. Sometimes being shown glimpses of what’s ahead, other times offering a bit of advise for those that follows. I don’t have the answers, heck half the time I’m not sure I’m asking the right questions but I do have my own experiences and journey to share. So this is mostly for me, a creative outlet and way to express myself but perhaps there is someone out there, just a little bit more like me than not, who gets it. And if all else fails you might just get a laugh out of it because I sure do get the giggles at some of the stuff that goes on around here.
WHAT ARE MY GOALS
Honestly I feel that they are at heart the same of any mother no matter where they are. I want my family to be safe, happy and healthy. What probably differs is the details. For starters in our home we do things a little differently. So happiness is the pursuit of knowing who the individual is and embracing whatever that is rather than the state of feeling happy. Safety is two fold, firstly protection from internal and external abuse and harm. Call it what you like but I will make sure I can see and hear my kids as they explore the world. Secondly its about facilitating the development of skills that will ultimately allow them to be safe in their adult world. From learning how to climb trees and take risks to understanding human behaviour. It all works towards helping them reach adulthood, risk management not risk avoidance. And finally health – this is a whole body health. Mental, physical and emotional. In this goal we have embraced a few lifestyle changes that may not be the norm. We don’t follow any particular ideology but rather work with skilled medical professionals to understand ourselves better and work to maximise the wellbeing of each of us. So whats right for one is not necessarily right for another and it is a constant balancing act. This approach is far from easy and it sure makes for a lot more work on my behalf, however I have seen how each one of my family members have thrived when I stay on track. No one said parenting was going to be easy.
HOW DO I FUND THIS
I have over the years become far more interested in just were the money trail ends. So this here is my personal blog, I am doing this for my own reasons. To connect to others, to have a voice, to pass on anything that may be of use to others – that basic human need to belong and connect. This is not how I plan to make my $$$. I am thrice blessed firstly I have a small home based business that I hope will come to supplement our family income in time. Secondly I have creativity, passion and motivation and can/will continue to find work in and around my primary responsibilities of Motherhood. And thirdly, something that my younger feminist self would probably have a conniption with, I have a loving and supportive Husband who works hard to provide for us all. I will advertise my own business through a few links or images (not over the top as thats not the point of this blog). I will also make reference to organisations and businesses that I feel play a role in my extended network of support be it an understanding restaurant or a useful tool. I don’t get any kickbacks or rewards and certainly no money changes hands. Often the businesses won’t be aware of my blog at all. I do however feel that good products and good people need to be acknowledged and if anyone has tried taking an Autistic little soul in mid stim into a shop you will understand the value of knowing which places will be safe and free from judgement.
Only one member of my family has officially received a diagnosis of Autism, though many of us see similarities and traits in common. I write from my perspective as parent and how I understand and connect with my own child. It has been suggested that there is a Broad Autism Phenotype that describes those of us who exhibit many similarities but are non diagnosable and I certainly see myself and my daughter in this rather grey area. It is perhaps this connection and viewing my son as an extension of self that has allowed for a rather fantastic working relationship to form. Autism is a label that tries to cover a truly diverse range of individuals where there is often a very high comorbidity with other conditions and labels – it does not even begin to describe the person and their unique being. I use a combination of person first and label first language because that is how my child expresses himself. Autism in our home is just a part of our family identity, there is no judgement or shame simply because we don’t feel that way about our child. There is only one person who can tell me what I should or should not say and that’s my boy. I respect him and his wishes above all else.
My S#!T List is the list of rather unpleasant or unfortunate challenges and obstacles that I am dealing with personally. Currently as of Feb 2017 it covers: Benign Micro Prolactinoma, Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, High cholesterol, Obesity, IBS, Insulin Resistant Pre Diabetic, Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, Joint Pain, Hay Fever/Seasonal Allergies, Pelvic instability, Fatigue/Exhaustion.
Now that is one word that least describes our home. I will probably refer to the abbreviation NT to stand for Neuro Typical or normal/as expected neurological functioning. To be honest the more you look into this the more you realise just how small this group is. Perhaps the concept of one neurological model is the flaw not the large amount of diversity we see around us. There is no denying that the concept of normal exists, the moment you deviate from this socially defined point they will make sure you know. As a parent there are plenty of helpful people who will gladly explain to you just exactly what and how you should be doing things. A normal child goes to sleep at 7pm (in Australia), a normal child can sit at the dinner table, a normal child knows how to behave properly. Normal is ok, it describes a group ideal. The problem comes when people forget that normal is flexible, it changes and is shaped as we grow and change as a society.