The morning routine with children can be difficult for most parents but when you have a child with special needs, stress levels can be extreme.
Caloundra single mum Natalie* Hayes is a full time carer for her seven-year-old daughter Sarah*, who has a number of medical conditions including Autism and ADHD. Sarah’s days often involve therapy sessions and other ongoing treatment.
Natalie receives Carer Payment and Carer Allowance to help with her daughter’s needs and says while there are many happy moments, dealing with Sarah’s situation is something she takes a day at a time.
“The mornings are very difficult and start with trying to get Sarah to take her medication, then managing her personal care while trying to keep her calm and not trigger any commotion,” said Natalie.
“Everything has to be routine, routine, routine and she’s prone to emotional outbursts she cannot control, hitting me or screaming and running out of the house.
“To make things more difficult, my car is off the road at the moment so I catch public transport to get Sarah to all her appointments.
“It makes me appreciate the assistance we receive from Centrelink and other local organisations even more.”
While caring for a child with special needs is demanding at times, Natalie wants people to know there are many positive things about her daughter.
“Sarah is funny, creative, artistic, smart and she loves meeting new people, especially when we go to the park,” she said.
“We’re also saving up to buy some bikes so we can go riding together.”
Natalie has recently moved to be closer to the support services Sarah needs.
“As an Indigenous woman, family means a lot to us and everyone pitches in but now I’m closer to a city I think it will be better for Sarah,” she said.
Natalie is sharing her story during Carers Week (October 14- 20) to express her appreciation of the support available for carers like her.
“Often carers are family members who have a lot of extra responsibilities that others may not understand. It’s great that this is recognised,” she said.
“That little bit extra, when you’re unable to work because you have a caring role, helps in so many ways.
“I’m also grateful for organisations like Carers Queensland who advocate for me so passionately.”
For details of activities planned during Carers Week go to the Carers Australia website at http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/
*Not their real names.