Tonight's episode of the wonderful Australian Story had added significance for me.
A friend who has a four-year-old autistic son (as well as an older son in Year 1 and a daughter who will turn one in October) emailed me last night to tell me it would feature Nicole Rogerson and her family. My friend explained that Nicole started Lizard, where she is doing an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) program with her son.
My friend emailed a number of friends and family members in the hope they would watch and gain a good idea of what ABA is about. Nicole's son Jack started ABA when he was four and, like my friend's son, he had no language and was significantly affected by autism. After many years of therapy, he now attends a mainstream high school.
I thought I understood the enormity of what my friend was facing in the battle bring out her son's best. But it really hit me when Jack's mum told how at one point she was told by a medical professional she had given so much energy and time to help Jack but there was nothing more she could expect to achieve and it was time to forget about him and raise her younger son. How devastating and shocking for a so-called medical professional to say that. I just burst into tears thinking about my friend and what she and her family are going through . . . the daily struggle . . . and the almost certain physical and mental exhaustion.
See the episode here. Australian Story is repeated on Saturdays at 12.30 pm or you can watch Australian Story on ABC2 on Tuesdays at 8pm.