Irish Mirror Education for Autistic Children Awards: They Called Me a Bad Mum.Then I Found My Daughter Was Autistic; 10 YR FIGHT TO HAVE GIRL'S PLIGHT DIAGNOSED

The Mirror (London, England), March 17, 2001 | Go to article overview

Irish Mirror Education for Autistic Children Awards: They Called Me a Bad Mum.Then I Found My Daughter Was Autistic; 10 YR FIGHT TO HAVE GIRL'S PLIGHT DIAGNOSED


Byline: LYNNE KELLEHER

AN angry mother who fought for 10 years to have her little girl diagnosed autistic said last night: "I was told I was a bad mum."

Josephine McDermott, 44, said she brought her daughter Aisling, now 13, to more than a dozen doctors before she was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome - a form of autism.

The exhausted mother - who has two other children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) - said Aisling spent most of her childhood sitting in a slow-learners' class.

The mother-of-four, from Tullacmongan, Co Cavan, said last night: "I even thought about committing suicide because I thought it was my fault.

"I cried and cried when they said she was just a slow learner because I knew in my heart there was something really wrong.

"They told me I was a bad mother and I just got so depressed and cried and cried.

"My daughter is now 13 and she can't read, write or spell. Her childhood was taken away.

"She has been put through the ropes because she looks normal. She was put through sheer hell with tests from different doctors.

"The North Eastern Health Board would never listen to me.

"Then a doctor diagnosed her when she was 10. She didn't understand a thing for the last nine years in school.

"I always knew and I fought and fought and eventually a neurologist in Dublin told me what I always knew."

Josephine said her eldest child wanted to be able to read and write like her younger sister, Pamela, 12.

She said: "I was sitting at the kitchen table recently with Pamela and Aisling. Pamela was doing her lessons and Aisling looked upset.

"She said to me 'Mammy, I could do the same as Pamela if someone would show me how to do it'.

"I got up and went into the bathroom and cried my heart out for her.

"She told me she wanted to learn. She didn't want to run errands in the classroom.

"Aisling is so frustrated. …

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