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This life can be a total rollercoaster. If your experience as a parent and carer to your child is anything like mine, you’ll have had some major ups and downs. Always remember Parent Carers: You are stronger than you know.

It’s hard to admit, but I’ve experienced some sad, low and desperate times as a single parent carer. But the fact that we’ve pulled through those times as a family, and overcome many obstacles, gives me hope. There’s lots of truth in the saying “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. However, it would also be nice if things could stop trying to kill us all the time!

 

The dreaded school run

I remember the times when I would drop my children off at nursery, and the staff would tell me not to fret, that they’d calm down as soon as I left. Has this happened to you? And you walk away with pain and aching in your chest at leaving your child in distress. It’s so reassuring to find out later that they happily went to play with a puzzle after you left and got on with their day just fine.

I always thought this was a phase and that as children grew up, it got easier. Never would I have known that I would have my heart broken every day right through primary school. My daughter would cry before going in; getting there was a battle, and then she would cling to me and cry when I had to leave.

I would walk away and later burst into tears. This behaviour, I was often told, was separation anxiety and school avoidance. However, it is more to do with you as your child’s primary carer being their auxiliary aid, and when you leave, their aid is effectively being removed.

 

Read more on anxiety separation and auxiliary aid from The Plight of the SEND Parent

 

Some days it turned out my daughter had a good day, and this made me overjoyed. Then there were the days when I received a phone call shortly after dropping her off asking if I could collect her as she was so distraught.

A school run to some parents may be a little stressful. The frantic rush out the house on time, remembering everyone’s lunch and itineraries. But for some of us, it’s more than that. It’s more of a fight than a struggle, and it’s more soul-crushing than stressful. I feel my heart has broken for my daughter a million times over. Yet still, you must go on, as there’s always hope that the next good day is around the corner.

This experience is why, when a school has provided a great teaching assistant (TA), it feels like an angel has been sent down from heaven. Some people may think this a little extreme. Still, the proper support for children with additional needs is the difference between access to an education, a chance to develop social skills and friendships, or total isolation and stress.

 

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Teaching Assistant

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I cannot thank those TA’s enough for the work they do. It was my daughter’s TA’s I had in mind, and all the other beautiful souls who help care for our children, when I wrote a poem of gratitude. It still doesn’t scratch the surface for how appreciative I am for what they do, but it makes a pretty rhyme, and it’s from the heart!

 

Cards for Teaching Assistants and Carers

Parent Carers: You are stronger than you know

One of the stories that give me strength and resonated with me the most came from my mum. My mother was really into yoga at the time and was listening to all the translated Sanskrit texts and everything. She’d recently been on a yoga retreat in India, which was hysterical as my mum hates intense heat.

Without wanting to go off on too much of a tangent, she told me about the yogi belief system with children. Now, maybe you already know, but yogis believe in reincarnation, and in the yoga tradition, reincarnation is termed ‘avatara’. But the words she gave me then have always given me strength when I need it most.

She told me: “Your child chose you.”

your child chose you

Now, this nearly brought a tear to my eye. But I find that whenever I’m struggling or having a bad day, these are the words I replay in my mind. My daughter could have picked anyone, but she chose me. And I will stand by her and be her strength whenever she needs me.

So, whenever you’re feeling worn down when this path you’re on feels hard, and I know it can be undeniably unjust, please try to remember you have more strength than you know. Your child chose you because of who you are. And you’re doing a fantastic job at being exactly who you were meant to be for them.

You’re amazing. Your child is amazing.

Much love to you all x

 

For inspiring art & helpful resources, check out my Autism Inked Etsy Store.

 

Autism Inked Watercolor Autism Quote Posters – Autism Parent Carers