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Meet the Parents

Derek and Sarah Pooley

Derek and Sarah Pooley

Parents:
Derek and Sarah Pooley

Profession:
Engineer
Veterinary nurse

Age of parents:
40 and 43

Child’s name:
Taylor

Age: 13 years

Diagnosis of child:
ASD and ADHD

What are the biggest challenges facing your child on a daily basis?
He has many sensitivities to touch, sound and taste, they are quite extreme and flair up often in stressful ways for him.

What are the happiest moments you have with your child on a daily basis?
I wish everyday was a happy day like this (main pic).... but quarantine is real and it’s ugly. Especially for special needs children and their siblings. So from one momma to the next - tomorrow is another day.

Are you married?
Separated.

Has your special needs child had an effect on your marriage?
I think we neglected our relationship and put all our energy into ‘fixing’ our son, the cost was high and we separated a few years ago. My ex and I are better friends now and better for our kids. If there is one perk to separating, is that we can give each other proper breaks, knowing our son is well cared for when he is with the other parent.

Are your family and friends supportive?
Yes they are, as much as we let them in. I am over protective of Taylor which doesn’t make it easy for people to get to know him better.

What has your child taught you about yourself, both positively and negatively?
Taylor has taught me so many wonderful things, simple things that most people take for granted. There is good and bad but mostly I see him for the curious sensitive boy that he is and the magic he brings to the world.

What has made the biggest difference to your child's quality of life?
I chose to move a little way out of Jo’burg, big open spaces and nature - hold and heal us all. Taylor might not be the best at academics but he has an incredible knowledge about plants, animals, how to make things, some survival skills. Its extraordinary to see how skilled he is in these areas.

What is your dream for your child?
Taylor is happiest in nature, my dream is for him is to live a peaceful life somewhere in the bush, with animals around.

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