Tell me a bit about yourself and your family?
I am Mummy to 2 beautiful children, one on the Autism Spectrum James (3) & Scarlett (2), I am a wife to Theo a very talented Chiropractor. I once was a professional ballet dancer, I am a qualified ballet teacher through the Royal Academy of Dance.Today I am dedicated to all things Autism. I am a passionate Autism Advocate.
How did you get into blogging?
To communicate! To De-brief! Its my therapy, my way of giving back to the ASD community. My way to talk through things that are eating me on the inside. I am a communicator, I like to get my feelings and thoughts into the atmosphere to make my soul more peaceful. When we started this journey with James I felt so alone. It was like someone slapped a label on his head and sent us away. I tried to talk to people around me but no one was listening and it seemed like no one really cared. So now I just pound the keyboard everyday. Its RAW, REAL and hopefully entertaining.
What was your diagnosis process ?
I knew there was something not right when James was born.He was so uncomfortable in his skin. Screamed constantly, never slept, didn’t eat and had pretty severe anxiety. When he was 2.5 his speech regressed (he only had 4 words anyway). I took him to our paediatrician at the time and he said there was nothing wrong that everything I was concerned about was totally normal. I didn’t argue with him but I knew he was WRONG. So I took James back to the paediatrician that delivered him.He sent me home with ADOS paperwork and told me ‘Sharna NO bullshit, fill it out with honesty’, it took me a week to fill out the paperwork because I just needed some time. I emailed the paperwork the our Dr and he emailed me pretty much straight back and said ‘I believe James is on the Autism Spectrum’. He then referred us to a child psychologist that specialises in younger children. She meet with James 3 times, on the 3rd meeting was the assessment. Two weeks later we were in her office to hear the ASD diagnosis. I never forget that feeling in my stomach. I started to cry and she said ‘Sharna you knew this was the outcome, you have the ability to change the course. He is young. She told me to dedicate my time to bringing him out of the shadows.’ I replied with WHATEVER IT TAKES
How much has changed for you since then?
We are also insanely busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What conceptions did you have about the spectrum before the diagnosis ?
I suppose I didn’t realise how broad the spectrum was. Every child on the spectrum is so different.
What have been the major challenges you have faced and overcome?
The biggest challenge for me is other people’s view on what ASD is to be honest. I face this on a daily basis. Ignorant people who have no interest in trying to understand the disorder. Because of my ballet training I really have been able to overcome a lot of obstacles with great dedication, focus and drive. The one thing I really struggle with is close minded stubborn individuals who refuse to allow themselves to become educated on a disorder that really does effect the greater community.
What has been the biggest help for you guys?
My husband. He works really hard so that I don’t have to. When James was diagnosed I had the desire to open another ballet studio. After some thought I decided that it was more rewarding for me to put in my all to James’ development. With my husband providing for our family it allows me the time that is needed to go into James and his chaotic schedule. My husband Theo is also very hands on. When he is home he will do what he can with both our kids to help out as much as possible. He really is our rock! He holds our family together in so many ways!
What would be your advice to other parents out there?
WHATEVER IT TAKES!
Don’t give up! On the hardest days especially! Sometimes its 1 step forward and 5 steps back but keep climbing.
Engage them, love them, include them, talk to them, PRAISE them endlessly!
How do you take time out for yourself?
Float… I love to float. The sensory deprivation for 1 hour resets and recharges my batteries. This is my favourite Mummy time. I go once a month. The local floating specialist was a big reason I started my blogging journey. She gave me that final push I needed to get our story out there.
If you haven’t tried floating, DO IT! Especially if you are an ASD parent where our whole day sometimes is based around the sensory needs of our little person.
What would you tell your 12 year old self?
Don’t let someone dim your light, simply because its shining in their eyes!
Find her at…..
FB James’ Health Journey