A local mum’s online blog is giving Wiganers a unique insight into the daily life of caring for children with autism.
Jade Shaw’s social media page A Day In The Life Of An Autism Mum, documents the daily ups and downs of raising her three-year-old son Seth, who was diagnosed with the condition when he was two.
The 30-year-old mum and husband Jay also has a five-year-old daughter, Ella, who is on the autism pathway but has not been officially diagnosed.
And the devoted Atherton mum’s blog is already providing an insight into the struggles of caring for children on the spectrum, despite only being set up at the start of April to coincide with Autism Awareness Month.
Jade said: “It was just to get the awareness out there, I couldn’t find anything public locally about autism. So it was about putting that information out there.
“It’s somewhere for them to turn to, where people won’t be judgemental. They can just have a talk and share any worries. Anyone can privately message me and have a chat that way, if they don’t want it to be public.”
Jade has been praised for the honesty in her blog, and being frank about how her experiences can leave her feeling upset and even angry.
“A lot of people are afraid to open up about how difficult it can be,” she said.
“Before Seth was diagnosed, it was my mum who said something wasn’t quite right, but I shut it down right away. I thought he was a late developer, but in the back of my mind I knew she was right. You just don’t want to admit anything could possibly be wrong.
“When he was about 13 months old, my husband said something wasn’t right, and it was at that point I admitted it to myself, and I had a good cry about it.
“I felt kind of angry, in a way. You do go through those stages of emotions of upset.
“So there is that emotion there, and there are days when you are absolutely shattered.”
Working full-time and providing around-the-clock care for Seth took its toll on Jade, and quit her job last November to become a full time carer, a decision she did not make lightly.
Jade said: “I’d worked all my life from leaving college,” she said. “I ended last year, I was exhausted. I couldn’t even concentrate on what I was doing.
“I just knew I couldn’t constantly be doing both.”
But it was a choice which ultimately inspired plans to set up charity events and coffee mornings for fellow parents to meet up and share their experiences.
“Coming out of work, you feel isolated, which is another reason why I want to set up these coffee mornings to share their experiences.”
She added: “It won’t be just for autism, but anyone with complex needs - children and adults as well.
“Hopefully with enough followers, we can do things like fun days to raise money and awareness for autism.