The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.
I have a child with additional needs. Specifically, he has Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).
It sounds so neat and tidy when you put it like that, but it’s not. Not even a little bit.
He is so smart and beautiful and loving. But he is also violent, self-destructive and oppositional.
Watch: Carter's Story. Post continues after video.
This year, after a particularly bad start to the year (including a few fisticuffs and a running home from school incident), I made the difficult decision to move to distance education – turns out he’s just a square peg in a round hole, and that makes him ‘too much’ for the school.
So now the explosions are all for me! The difficult days, the sitting on the upside chair with a stool on his head refusing to do work and then using a hand puppet to bark expletives at me.
It's me who tells he hates. It's me whose things he bites in half, that he breaks, that he throws around the room.
But at night, after all is said and done, he cups my face in his hands and says "sorry mummy", and for a few short moments it's all worth it.
He was diagnosed with ASD1 in 2019, and it’s been an uphill battle. Psychiatrists, psychologists, alternative medicine, GPs, podiatrists, OT, chiro... I don’t get any help. Not from Centrelink, not from child support, and nothing from NDIS.
His father spends his days abusing drugs and surfing the best wave, or writing about how he is a good father on social media. He pays me the generous sum of $36 per month in child support. But he wasn’t always like that. He used to hold down a job and own things – but I suppose providing for a child is just too much for him.
This year, they increased my son's diagnosis to ASD2, and suddenly there came an opportunity to apply for the NDIS. The bill to get the documents I need to apply just keeps rising. I have to keep a roof over our head. I have to manage my own three jobs, plus distance education, and there are no alternate weekends in this scenario – it’s just me.