Never say never

September 28, 2021
Personal Perspectives
By Reframing Disability

Screen Shot 2021 09 28 At 10.50.07 Am

If you’d told me a year ago that I would have moved with my Autistic/ADHD child overseas in the middle of a pandemic (while 7 months pregnant), I would have looked at you like you were crazy and said ‘no way’.

That’s exactly what we did though. I can honestly say, it’s been the best thing we’ve done in a while.

Moving wasn’t something we were seeking out. After all, we had all our networks in place in Sydney. We had the A-team of therapists and our child was steadily making progress in all areas. We had friends, inclusive extracurricular activities, an amazing babysitter and a nice local school community. It didn’t make sense to leave.

We spent a while thinking it through. In the past, I’d found it hard to change therapists, let alone move overseas. There were so many unknowns for each of us, especially our child. What tipped us over is that my husband and I were feeling a bit like something needed to change in our lives.

In the weeks leading up to going, I spent plenty of time wondering if we were doing the right thing, and at times I started to think it wasn’t. In those moments, I reminded myself of the story of Dr James Best taking his son backpacking in Africa. Besides, as they say, wheels were already in motion for our move so I tried my best to roll with them.

When it was time, I prepped my child as best as I could for all the changes that were coming. I had a bunch of strategies in my head ready for almost every outcome. There were also lots of things that were completely out of my control and in the end I had to cross my heart, close my eyes, hope for the best and …. JUMP.

As we left, I braced myself for what COULD happen, almost all the possible scenarios. Except for the one that did happen: my child flourished and never looked back.

I really hadn’t let myself consider that this could be great for my child. But it was! It was almost as if the fresh start fuelled surges in their physical, emotional and social development. Struggles vanished, quickly replaced with fully formed skills. My child’s independence blossomed in ways I never expected. Never in a million years would I have predicted any of this.

I have been blown away at how much this suited us as a family and how moving overseas to an entirely new country is what I never knew my child needed.

Am I saying you should all move overseas? Absolutely not. What I did learn, and what I wanted to share, is to not be afraid to try something new or do something different when an opportunity presents itself. You just might be surprised.

I don’t think I realised the limits I had set, that we were all living in. I think I had accepted that the way things were was good enough, without daring to take a risk and see if things could be great. This change has shown me that it’s possible not only to step outside my comfort zone but also to stretch the comfort zone for my child. It’s shown me that great things can happen for both me and my child when we do.

by Bethany Woollatt.

“What if I fall?”

“Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”

– Erin Hanson

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