Article by Eisten McGleenan, for The Advertiser
A DIAGNOSIS doesn’t change your child, but it changes the way you relate to them and help them learn, according to mother of three, Crystal Taylor.
With two boys, Oliver, 4, and Brayden, 5, diagnosed with autism, Mrs Taylor said it has been a huge learning curve for her and husband Clinton.
They were diagnosed at the same time in 2012 after early intervention with St Giles and the Early Childhood Intervention Service, who provided speech therapy, occupational therapy and an autism specific pediatrician, and specialists to find a diagnosis.
“Then you start to get your head around autism,” Mrs Taylor said,
“It doesn’t change your children but it changes the way to relate to them and the way you help them learn,” she said.
“Sometimes they need different methods to help promote best outcomes,” she said.
Oliver is completely non- verbal and Brayden was also non verbal until the age of five.
“Verbal communication is a challenge and requires a lot of patience.
A task such as grocery shopping can be difficult for anyone with young children, but for Mrs Taylor taking her two boys, there are even more factors to consider.
“Oliver, our four-year-old, can get very frustrated and overwhelmed by being in the supermarket with visual stimulation, and lots of people and noise.
“His response is to cry and scream, because he has no words to communicate but he is using the best way he can,” she said.
“People might look and think he is just being naughty,” she said.
She said it was challenging to manage situations like that because of the pressures involved.
“I guess there are three different emotions with that,” she said.
“One is I put pressure on myself as a parent to do the best you can as a parent for your children.
“Two, the external pressure to what you perceive people might be thinking, even if they’re not.
“And then, looking after your child’s well being, you want to make sure their experience is just as good as any other children,” she said.
Mrs Taylor has learnt different ways to help her children cope with overwhelming situations.
“For Oliver, it’s holding a green pencil that calms him down,” she said.
She said the work autism specific organisations were doing with children including her own was really important.
“I think the work that all the organisations do, St Giles, ECIS and Autism Tasmania does for us as parents on this journey, it maximises learning outcomes,” she said.
“[Brayden and Oliver] really are very gifted and it helps us to bring out the best,” she said.
“As parent when you get that diagnosis you might be scared, but then as time goes on, you realise it does not put as many limitations on your child as you think it would,” she said.
Last year Mrs Taylor and husband Clinton organised an autism awareness ride to raise funds ($7000 in total) for Autism Tasmania and promote awareness about and acceptance of autism.
“Last year during the ride we spent two weeks away from home in a motor home and the boys adapted incredibly,” she said.
“It made me realise there is so much ability in them, and we need to embrace that,” she said.
Clinton Taylor and a team of cyclists will compete their second Ride Tasmania for Autism Awareness starting on March 22. It will come to the North-West:
– March 27: Launceston to Devonport (via Deloraine)
– March 28: Devonport to Burnie ASD Centre
– March 29, 30: Burnie to Queenstown
– March 31: Queenstown to Derwent Bridge
To support the cause: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/ride-tasmania-for-autism-awareness