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I guess if you were an observer, on the outside looking in, watching me as a kid, you would have seen me and thought, “She’s doing okay”. I was a little shy, a tad ‘sensitive’

But all, in all I did okay.

I got good grades in school. I was polite and well mannered. I was the girl that never caused disruption or fuss.

A teacher’s dream, mostly. My parent’s ‘perfect’ child.

But what you would not have seen was how hard I was working, to keep up this facade. 

School was really hard for me. My secret shame was my struggle to relate to other humans and to make and maintain friendships. (Something that has stayed with me throughout my adult life.)

Eventually, I grew to believe that I just didn’t have the ‘friendship gene’.  There was something fundamentally wrong with me.  At my core, I was peculiar and unlovable. 

I could sense my peers switching off as I naively and passionately info-dumped about the latest thing that I was interested in. I could hear them as they turned to each other and said, “She’s so weird!” before sniggering and running off to do what ‘normal’ girls do.

I pretended not to notice as everyone was handed an invitation to the latest party…

Everyone, except me.

In response to my obvious lack of attributes that made me a lovable and likeable human, I developed a ‘thick skin’, an air of rebellion, a hyper-independence that no one could breach.

I followed the expected path. I married young, studied to be a teacher and became a mum.  

Before I knew it our family of two had become five. I tried my best to give my children childhoods that they would not have to heal from.  However, as much as I tried, I failed.

Like their mum before them, my children also struggled with friendships. 

It would break my heart as my daughter would say, “I sat all lunchtime at the buddy bus stop, and no one asked me to play with them.”

These childhood struggles only intensified as they became teens.  And yet none of it seemed strange to me.

Why?  Well, because their experiences so closely mirrored mine. 

I watched in horror as their social struggles became anxiety, anxiety became depression and depression became life-threatening. It wasn’t until I was sitting in a psychologist’s office with my then 18-year-old daughter, that I first heard the word ‘Autism’.

It was such a relief to have a name, a reason why my child was struggling.

“Finally,” I told myself, “We would get the help we needed.”

But where I expected support, we received none. 

What we were given was a stack of pamphlets, a list of websites and videos to watch – left to figure it out.

I was shocked to my core to find out that my talented, passionate, amazing children had an 80% chance of developing some sort of mental health condition and were at significantly higher risk of dying through suicide.

“This can’t be true,” I uttered in stunned disbelief. 

But it was.

I did not know it at the time, but on the day we learned of my daughter’s neurotype, a new me was born.

As I wrapped my head around the enormous volume of information to absorb, processed the emotions that flooded my being, worked through all the things to consider and reconsider…

A fire began burning within me. I decided then and there to educate myself, to learn about Autism and ADHD from research but also from the lived experience of others and use what I learned to change my approach as a mum to help my children heal and thrive.

And…

when the time was right, I would build on my expertise and experience as an educator and coach to share what I knew with other parents who found themselves on this path so that they didn’t have to walk alone.

The shy, sensitive girl in me smiles. She knows that I get it.

She finally feels seen, heard and understood.

If you are reading this and you found yourself, your story reflected in the words of my story please know that you are not alone.  

If you felt seen, heard and understood while reading my words then maybe we should work together.

Book your complimentary 30-minute Planning Call with me to get started.

Parent coaching