I have just been reading on Mumsnet about the 'This is my Child Campaign'
I can't express how much I am behind it. After years of having a mis-understood child and feeling the isolation and stigma that goes with a child with a hidden disability it is a relief to see there is a campaign out there to raise awareness.
My own son has ADHD and mild autism. I have found that ADHD in itself carries a huge stigma and that I struggle to find other parents who admit their child has it or want to talk about it. It is part of my son, it makes him who he is. Yes life can be hard with him and as he gets older I am sure it will get harder but under the noise, screeching, running around, and general all over the place-ness, there is a very sensitive, loving boy who would go to the ends of this earth to help someone - no-one ever gives him the chance to see that person.
I hold my hands up and say we have him on medication - very much against what we believed in but hey we were wrong and within 2 weeks of starting a trial of medication we realised not only had it changed his life but our family life as well, it was the best move we ever made, people now 'see' our son, people understand him better. He actually asks for the tablets and says without them his brain whizzes round his head and he doesn't like it. its his choice and always will be. One thing medicating the ADHD did do though was allow the autistic traits to come to the surface, they were real and needed addressing but he will get on fine in life with them, with a little understanding.
Before we had diagnosis' we were labelled as parents who didn't discipline, parents who couldn't cope, a mother who shouldn't work and then perhaps her son wouldn't cry out for so much attention, a son who was a nightmare, a bully, always to blame (when often he wasn't but even at 4 and 5 yrs old other kids would blame him until one day he got the blame and wasn't even in school which made the teachers realise what was going on), always on the outside, never invited to parties, never invited to tea - it is simply heart-breaking, isolating and soul destroying all rolled into one. I stopped going anywhere for fear of how we would be viewed which I can tell you does nothing for your own self esteem and confidence, infact it destroys them.
The times I struggled with a baby while trying to sort my 3 or 4 year old out because he was doing something inappropriate, never once did someone ask if I needed help, but were all too happy to watch me struggle, and stare, or drag their own child away. The times I sat and cried alone, or with a screaming baby and pinned down toddler but still no-one asked if we were alright.
Please get behind this campaign and support it.
The below is copied from the This is my Child Campaign website
As lots of you will already know, we've spent the last few months working on a new campaign called 'This Is My Child' - and it's launching on Monday. (We're letting you know about it now because there's a rather nice piece about in in the Guardian this weekend.)
You can read about the background to the campaign here, but in essence it's about myth-busting and awareness-raising - so we'd really love you all to share it as widely as possible. We've consulted with Mumsnetters and the material is supported by input from some of the leading charities in the field: Mencap, Contact A Family and Every Disabled Child Matters.
Over the years on Mumsnet, parents of children with SN have described how their lives are made more difficult by the occasional (or not-so-occasional) judginess of members of the public. They've described how this can contribute to their isolation, placing limits on their social opportunities because they can't face the stress and disapproval that comes with public interactions.
That's why we came up with This Is My Child. Its aim is to support parents of children with additional needs, inform everyone else, and open up a conversation about how we can all act together to make day-to-day life a bit easier for these families.
The input of parents caring for children with special needs has always provided a fascinating perspective for other MNers, encouraging empathy and giving real insight into what life can be like. We're hoping that our myth-busters, tips for non-experts and strategies for parents and carers, along with our background facts and figures, will help to bring the wisdom and perspective of Mumsnet SN posters to a wider audience.
So if you like what you read and think someone you know would find it interesting or useful, please share it as widely as you can (you'll find our impressively large sharing buttons on each page ).
And for the Tweeps among you, we'll be holding a Twitter party on the #ThisIsMyChild hashtag on Tuesday between 1pm and 2pm; please join in if you can.
As ever, we'd love to know your thoughts and hear your feedback, so please use this thread to post up anything that occurs to you.