CHILDREN with autism are often misunderstood. The stigma surrounding the condition is something single mother Brittany Carter wants to eliminate.
Her two year old son, Flynn, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and fits into the autism and asperger category.
“Autism has been spoken about a lot and I think that there is a very big cloud over it, as if it is some kind of disease,” Miss Carter said.
“They are still people, they just function differently and the diagnoses doesn’t define them. It is a common thing to be diagnosed with.
It is why she will be running 14 kilometres in the 2017 City2Surf on August 13.
“I’m part of one of the first release groups and will be raising money and awareness for Autism Aspect Australia,” she said.
The organisation is close to Miss Carter’s heart as a lot of Flynn’s therapy is funded by Aspect.
“They support us and families all over Australia,” she said.
“Places like Aspect that help out, even just answering questions, are our life lines. They’re the reasons we can function some days. To have those resources there is crucial.”
Being the parent of a child with autism is a 24-7 job, Miss Carter said.
“It is so full on. It is a 24-7 job. When you think it has settled down but then there’s one little thing that can set things off. There’s no routine,” she explained.
“At the same time it’s beautiful and rewarding. He has taught me so much. It’s amazing getting online and seeing how much support there is.
“There is an amazing support network around Port Macquarie as well, particularly with my training for the City 2 Surf, with trainers and people who work closely with me and help look after Flynn while I train.”
What is autism?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior.
“Day to day is extreme. We have days where we don’t sleep all day and others where we sleep all day, days when all we want to do is get out of the house and others where we don’t want to go anywhere,” Miss Carter said.
How you can help
A donation page has been set up to support Brittany’s City2Surf endeavour. CLICK HERE to donate.
“Any amount helps, whether it’s 50 cents or $50,” she said.
“If you can donate and spread awareness, do research yourself on autism and how it affects families, it would go a long way.
“When people stop me and say kind words, it makes your entire day. So please, look into it and donate if you can.”