Interview with Kel Reynolds of @ChiefandKewpie
Name: Kel Reynolds
Kids: Noel, 5, Coco, 3
Both your kids have been diagnosed with autism. That’s gotta be super intense.
How has the diagnosis affected you? What has it meant for the family?
We found out at around the age of three for both kids. As a parent you never want anything to be “wrong” with your kids so it was fairly devastating news. My husband and I decided to take this news and get proactive with it. We were connected with some excellent therapists and as a result, Noel is now in kindy, at a mainstream school doing pretty well. Coco will be in the same boat.
Ignoring our kids’ special needs would sometimes have been easier. But through some hectic therapy including occupational therapy, speech therapy and child psychology, they’re functioning within their environments pretty well.
What kind of behaviour led you to investigate medical problems?
Noel was particularly violent as a 1-4 year old. He would lash out and bite other kids drawing blood. He would try and strangle other children. He would always be hitting or kicking us. Chris and I were at a loss. We didn’t go around doing that at home so where was he getting this from? I would sit and cry for my little boy. He was always in trouble, always getting yelled at by other parents and always so confused about why. Our diagnosis opened up a whole new world for him. He made sense all of a sudden and Chris and I were almost glad. Our child isn’t a monster, he’s just having a hard time coping with his world.
How has the diagnosis and treatment affected your outlook as a mum?
I feel pretty blessed actually. Having kids with special needs has certainly and undoubtedly made me a more loving and less judgmental person. Autism is an invisible disability and most times you won’t be able to tell a child has autism by looking at them. You never know what a family or particular child is going through, having children with special needs has helped me be more empathetic towards families with tricky children.
Do you have a support network?
I’ve met a bunch of excellent women through support groups and therapists. We can share experiences and know what each other are going through, so that’s been so valuable.
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