Brandon and Fiona Hall
Technician for fibre company and stay at home mom
Age of parents:
33 and 32
Age: 8 years
Is this your only child?
No, he has an older sister, Jamie (3 years old)
Diagnosis of child:
Calem doesn’t have a clear diagnosis but he is somewhere between severe ADHD and the Autistic Spectrum. His issues blur between the two.
What are the biggest challenges facing your child on a daily basis?
Calem struggles to regulate himself in all aspects, his speech is delayed and he is constantly seeking sensory input. He wants to climb through the windows, he uses the couch as a jungle gym, he doesn’t always hear the signals of when his body is telling him he is tired or hungry or needing the toilet.
What are the happiest moments you have with your child on a daily basis?
Calem isn’t very happy at the moment, lockdown has thrown out his schedule. He cant attend his therapies at the moment so his issues are a 100 times worse. He is having a lot of tantrums and it’s difficult to help him with that.
Are you married?
Has your special needs child had an effect on your marriage?
Brandon is an essential service provider and so he is up and out of the house early and returns late. This leaves me with Calem for 24 hour days and my patience is getting a bit thin. I am very irritable at the moment with everybody and unfortunately my husband bares the brunt of this. During normal times we actually get on really well and we have worked out a good system but with lockdown we have had no support and I’m feeling exhausted and stressed.
Are your family and friends supportive?
Our family and friends are great and we zoom with them often. We made a decision from the beginning not to ask our parents to help with Calem as my dad has diabetes and if he caught Covid-19, it could be life threatening.
What has your child taught you about yourself, both positively and negatively?
The level of strain and exhaustion I’m feeling at the moment is clouding my judgement. Calem is my son and I love him unconditionally - whatever life brings us, we are there for him. But the double whammy of Covid-19 on top of everything else has me feeling more anxious and alone and feeling very positive.
Do you take time out, if so what do you do to relax?
Nope, the global pandemic has us feeling more isolated than normal. We do enjoy the freedom of movement that level 3 has recently brought and we get out and walk in our neighbourhood twice a day, at awkward times. Calem pulls his mask off all the time, it’s a real trigger for his sensory issues so we choose quieter times to be in public and then we let him go wild.
What has made the biggest difference to your child’s quality of life?
Calem is loved and accepted for who he is, from his school to his home, he is surrounded by patient kind people. Our caregiver is an angel and we are so happy to have her back, she helps with keeping his routine and structure, which helps him regulate himself and keeps his parents sane.
What is your dream for your child?
I wish everything for Calem, he is a dear boy with a beautiful big heart. I hope we can get back to something of our old life, Covid-19 has been suffocating for all of us but especially special needs children.