Story of Hope: Kris Barrett, ASD Mum
To wish for a particular event that one considers possible
To have confidence; trust.
To desire and consider possible.
It’s hard to have hope when your child gets an autism diagnosis.
Even when you start seeing all the experts it’s hard to be optimistic when you’re told to accept that your child won’t have a normal life, to just keep them safe, to not expect too much of them and don’t worry, you’ll be OK because God only gives special children to strong parents. It’s hard to be optimistic when your family is falling apart, your child is screaming in pain all day and all night and you’re having a nervous breakdown from the sheer exhaustion of the life you have found yourself in. But if there’s one thing I can say to you, 15 years on from diagnosis, is please don’t give up hope, for there is much to hope for.
The first glimmer of hope I got after my son Tim was diagnosed with autism in 2004 was when I accidentally stumbled across someone doing a gluten and dairy free diet to help their child. When I read about it and it all made sense, I jumped in boots and all. Despite my paediatrician telling me it was all co-incidental, when we took gluten and dairy out of Tim’s diet he started sleeping through the night. His 15+ runny diarrhoea nappies per day decreased to about 3, he started looking at us, his eczema and asthma and ear infections disappeared. I knew this was no co-incidence – even with people telling me there was no research to support this, the results of my own research were right in my lounge room. I knew that if this had helped Tim then there was more we could do. And we haven’t stopped since.
Autism is a messy journey. It has taken every ounce of strength and courage that I didn’t even know I had to advocate for my son. It has taken a whole lot of money we didn’t have but found somehow. It has taken thousands of hours of research and study. It has taken a miracle to keep my family together through it all. It has taken a concoction of traditional and complementary therapies – many that didn’t help but we tried them anyway because I knew that the more we tried the closer we’d be to finding what worked for him. And it took me to trust in myself and my gut instincts about what was right for my son.
We are our children’s best hope. As mothers we know what’s best for our kids. Don’t ignore your gut instinct – if an “expert” is telling you something that doesn’t sit right with you, trust that feeling. Your wisdom will lead you to the right place. Keep your hope alive – just on the other side of despair is all you’ve been waiting for.
Tim was diagnosed with autism at age 3, still not toilet trained at age 6 and had a very uncertain future. Despite being told to put him in a special school, with the help of amazing teachers and therapists Tim recently graduated Year 12 from a wonderful mainstream school and is studying a Bachelor of Contemporary Music at Uni. He is happy, healthy and thriving.
Kris Barrett is a Certified Integrative Health Coach & Essential oils coach helping families of kids with autism to live happier, healthier lives. She is the author of two books and hosts a weekly podcast. You can find Kris at www.krisbarrett.com.au