Your donation today can help more children with autism to realise their potential, just like Rylee.
Our beautiful girl, Rylee came into this world as a healthy and happy baby. She met all her early milestones such as sitting, crawling and walking. She had always been a bit of a wild child - noisy, busy, smiling and cuddly but as she grew, some of her behaviours began to puzzle us.
My husband, Jason and I noticed that Rylee was much more interested in playing with light switches and doors than playing with other children or with toys. She was also incredibly sensitive. She couldn’t seem to tolerate touching paint or play dough, wearing certain clothing or having her hair brushed.
Birthday parties and Christmas Day were the hardest days for her. What should have been a happy day was often spent in tears.
Other everyday tasks became a struggle too. Eating, toileting, sleeping, shopping and social activities were all exhausting because Rylee would often have extreme meltdowns. We became socially isolated, giving up on all the things we imagined life with kids would be about. Kids' parties, playgroup, trips to the park, shops or movies; it was all too hard.
Desperate for answers, we visited numerous health professionals. Then Rylee was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and a half.
Rylee’s autism means that she has trouble processing every day sensory information. Things that you and I don’t even notice can often feel like physical pain for her and can cause her high anxiety. Feeling this way, along with a difficulty in understanding and using communication, would lead to challenging behaviour, such as big meltdowns. Rylee wasn’t being naughty; she simply didn’t know how to cope with her surroundings.
Her diagnosis was a very emotional time for us. Hearing that your daughter has a lifelong developmental disability is not an easy thing to adapt to. We didn’t know where to start on this lifelong journey.
Thankfully, soon after her diagnosis, we were referred to Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect). Thanks to generous donors like you, we received the most amazing support to help us understand autism, how it affects Rylee and how to manage the challenges it presents. Rylee was able to benefit from Aspect’s specialist early intervention program where she received support services like speech and occupational therapy.
The change has been incredible. Two years on, Rylee is amazing us daily.
The support we have received from the wonderful staff at Aspect has made the world of difference. I am so incredibly thankful for everything they have done for us. They really seem to understand Rylee and have been so patient in helping her to communicate and make sense of her world.
Rylee is trying new foods, she will let me do her hair, she is learning to touch things like paint and play dough and she can now go to the shops and attend most social events without having a meltdown.
I can’t even explain how ecstatic I was when I was able to take Rylee to see the animated film, Monsters University at the movies recently. This simple family activity just wouldn’t have been possible before. The sensory overload would have been too much for Rylee. She was excited but she calmed herself by quietly moving from chair to chair and she watched the whole film! She didn’t display any difficult behaviours and it was the first time I could remember that we didn’t have to leave an event early.
Jason and I are now feeling so much more positive about Rylee’s future. We are looking forward to achieving many more milestones. Rylee has started in an Aspect school this year and is settling in well. We are confident that together we will be able to handle the challenges ahead.
It is your support that helps Aspect to provide the many services that make these amazing differences in the lives of families like ours. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
- Amy (Rylee's Mum)