Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

The Harsh Reality of Autism; Fraser Coast Parents Share Their Experiences of Raising Autistic Kids

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

The Harsh Reality of Autism; Fraser Coast Parents Share Their Experiences of Raising Autistic Kids

Article excerpt

Byline: Mitch Crawley talks to two fraser coast families about life and autism

TRACEY Amodeo's tears tell the real story of autism.

They speak of a mother battling against impossible odds, a mother with three, of her four kids, diagnosed with some form of autism.

aThere are times where I just think I can't do it anymore,a she explains. aThere are times when I'm just so tired, I don't do anything for myself.a

How Tracey makes it through a day caring for these children is anyone's guess.

Christian, one of her younger boys, struggles the most.

He is a boy of almost seven and much bigger than other kids his age. His hair is a light brown colour combed forward, his skin a soft white sprinkled with light freckles.

He hardly looks like a child any different from others a but he is.

Christian's autism means he will probably never experience the beauty of friendships, will never feel the bonding love of a partner.

His autism is so severe it keeps him from speaking. He has never said aI love you muma. And probably never will.

He still wears a nappy, and might do for the rest of his life.

He barely sleeps, eats only Vegemite scraped on white bread or salt and vinegar chips, and drinks only apple juice from a baby's bottle.

One interesting aspect of his condition are his compulsive needs.

He has a set of toy cars that are always assembled in the same order and in a straight line on the kitchen table. His brother sometimes messes them up to torment him. But brothers are like that.

Christian's condition demands routine and even then the smallest thing can lead to a ameltdowna. He will bang his head on floors, against walls, whatever is near.

The thing about a meltdown is they can happen anywhere a in a shopping centre, in the car on the way out the driveway, they can even happen at school.

aYou can't stop them,a Tracey says. aThey can last all day.a

The story of how Christian's condition was triggered is also unique.

aHe went in for his immunisation, his measles, mumps and rubella, just before he turned two,a she explains.

aThat night he had a really nasty reaction to the needle, on the site (where it went in) there was a big lump that went really red and he had really high fevers.

aWithin days of him coming out of that fever he lost all his speech, everything, he just fell into his autism.a

Doctor's disagree routine MMR injections trigger conditions like autism but Tracey is adamant, Christian has never been the same.

For her, the lack of support is most troubling.

She says there are no clear pathways to cater for people with autism. She says people and governments need to act. She says autistic boys and girls deserve their own schools, to help them become independent, at least, give them a chance. …

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