We can help your child with a disability

"Once you start working through the processes, it just becomes that much easier."

(BELINDA:) We first noticed some problems with Aidan when he was quite young and we took him to the Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with Asperger’s.

He was… he was around three when he was diagnosed.

And we were then introduced, through the hospital and referred from the hospital, to early intervention.

(DANIELLE:) From about eight months old, Tayeton… We noticed him not listening.

He was banging his head on the ground and also he wasn’t doing the normal sounds like an average child normally does.

(MINGYU:) From the beginning, we went to see our GP.

(EMILY:) Yeah.

(MINGYU:) And tell him about the things happen with Veronica and what we concerned with.

And he said maybe at this age of the children, they have multi-language at home—we speaking Cantonese and she’s watching TV in English and all the teachers, the friends around, they all speaking English—she might just… confusing and adopting the language.

Maybe after a certain period of time, she might get better and start to talk.

(EMILY) (SPEAKING CANTONESE) When I… The first time I heard my child had an Autism Spectrum Disorder, it’s hard to believe it could happen to us.

I used to think that it was because I had eaten something wrong or I had done something wrong to have a baby born like this.

With a disability.

(BELINDA:) The process of being diagnosed… was very, very overwhelming and it was a very, very tough time for my family.

Some many questions went through my mind.

Had we done something wrong?

Could we have picked this up sooner?

(EMILY:) (SPEAKING CANTONESE) I could not figure out why this happened to us.

Both of us are very healthy.

So I was very upset.

I think I was depressed.

(JANICE:) We had a discussion, myself and Gus, ‘cause we had, like, little inklings of ‘There’s something not right’.

Like, our boy is our perfect little boy, but there’s something a bit different between him and his sister.

So we decided to take him to the normal check-up, the 2.5 year-old check-up, to the nurse, and she went through the questionnaire of, ‘OK, is William saying X amount of words? Is he indicating he wants to go to the toilet? Is he using a fork? Is he using a pen?’.

And, yep, sure enough, no, no, no, no to everything.

(DANIELLE:) I was thinking why is this happening to me?

Why both vision and hearing?

It didn’t seem fair.

And I suppose it became extremely overwhelming for me.

And I didn’t know what to feel at times, and other times I just cried my eyes out.

(MELISSA:) Even though at times I knew there was something not right, or something a bit different, I should say, it’s not until you get that full diagnosis, that letter, that the realization does hit.

I was hoping I was going to be wrong.

But then it made sense why I was perhaps losing my mind.

And… but that was good, because it kind of gave me an answer that I could move on.

(JANICE:) To be honest, it was quite overwhelming because we’ve only had one other child before our son and we didn’t have to check her for anything.

So having all these, you know, the list of professionals for our son to see, it was quite daunting.

(DANIELLE:) It’s not easy, it’s not easy living in the community and having people look at you, stare at you in different ways.

And that, basically, my child’s got something wrong with him.

But we pretty much held our head up high.

And, you know, I love Tayeton and I wouldn’t change one little thing about him.

(MELISSA:) It was all properly overwhelming those first four months from being diagnosed.

But it’s got easier.

So, yeah, we’re just on 12 months and it’s… I think now, just watching Henry develop, and he’s really happy, so, yeah, that’s the main thing.

(BELINDA:) It was a process of seconding-guessing yourself.

I thought that there was something wrong with Aidan a lot sooner and I had been to the GPs a couple of times and I had two referral letters before I actually went the first time to the hospital.

‘Cause I kept thinking, ‘No, it’ll be OK. He’ll be OK’.

‘We’ll keep going’.

‘He’ll… He’ll continue to develop. We’ll be OK’.

But I’m glad that we went through the process in the end and we got the help that we needed.

(DANIELLE:) I’ve met a lot of people out there with children that have disabilities and sometimes I think, ‘How do they cope… themselves?’.

So… And it’s remarkable to see on how well, you know, others have done.

And to anybody else out there as well, I’d sort of suggest that there is help, there is support and you need to find out about it, you need to ask people.

(BELINDA:) I think the most important thing when you’re going through the first initial stages is to keep reminding yourself that there’s help out there.

People want to help.

It’s just… being able to find the help.

(JANICE:) When you’re ready to do it, seek the help that you need.

But know that you’re not by yourself.

You’re not alone.

You know, there are so many families out there that are… I cried. I won’t lie. I cried. You know?

My daughter came up to me, she’s like, ‘Mummy, why are you crying?’.

But, I mean, it’s not a bad thing that my child’s been diagnosed.

The fact that I know, you know and that we can take steps to help him.

(BELINDA:) Because once you’re in contact with the right people, once you start your early intervention and things that you can go to that will tell you the right information, or even the people that are diagnosing you, they can point you in the right direction.

Once you start working through the processes, it just becomes that much easier.