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World Autism Awareness Week 2016 – Mallaidh’s Story

Posted 07:00AM on Friday 08 April 2016

Mallaidh’s story by her mum Stephanie.

“Mallaidh is my 8 year old daughter. She has autism, as well as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and specific learning difficulties. 

“Mallaidh struggles daily to manage in school, both at an academic and a social level. Mallaidh has low self–esteem and is described by many professionals as a very anxious and emotional child, requiring a lot of positive reinforcement and support. The only predictable thing about Mallaidh’s autism is unpredictability and one consistency is inconsistency. This often manifests as challenging, aggressive behaviour and excessive crying at home. At school, Mallaidh tends to internalise her feelings and emotions and often does not talk. She retreats into herself; in her words, ‘I cry inside’. As parents, my husband and I have found this extremely distressing.

“I cannot emphasise enough the life line Positive Futures has become to Mallaidh and our family as a whole. Positive Futures has worked with Mallaidh to explore and explain her diagnosis of autism to her in a positive light. They have assisted in initiating appropriate tools and strategies for Mallaidh to use at school with her Special Needs Assistant and at home to try and identify early distress and limit ‘melt downs’. Since meeting her Outreach Worker Melissa, Mallaidh has shown great enthusiasm and now looks forward to meeting up with Melissa each week. Mallaidh has been able to talk and chat with peers who also have autism. They’ve talked about their individual gifts and their likes and dislikes. This has really helped Mallaidh build on her confidence and promote self–esteem. She will now say things like, ‘Mummy, so and so is just like me’ – it is so lovely to hear. Positive Futures is an invaluable support for Mallaidh.

“Recently, Mallaidh went to her first ever trip to the cinema and had a great time. In the past, Mallaidh would not entertain the idea of the cinema, despite our best efforts. 

“Positive Futures continue to support Mallaidh and our family as we come to terms with living with autism and provide essential support and advice which positively impacts greatly on our quality of life.”