Ashleigh is a bubbly and friendly 11 year old who cares deeply about her friends and family. She is incredibly close to her five older siblings and enjoys hanging out with them.
When Ash was seven years old, she was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Ash’s mum Nikki was shocked by the diagnosis and wasn’t sure what to expect. “Having raised five neurotypical kids, this was a whole new world for me and it felt like I had to ‘relearn’ how to be a parent again” says Nikki.
“My world revolves around Ash trying to give her everything she needs to live the best life and become independent.”
Ash is developmentally very behind her neurotypical peers and has many more challenges than other kids, from learning to tie her shoelaces to riding a bike. She is very sociable and loving but it hasn’t always been easy making friends. Although she is in year six, she is developmentally much younger and finds it very upsetting when she can’t do things or be like everyone else.
A turning point for Ash was joining the All Stars for Autism Telethon-funded, Teen Mentoring Program. Nikki says, “This was the beginning of feeling ‘part of something’ for Ash, myself and our whole family. She has made friends and can be herself.” Importantly, All Stars is not a short term or one off treatment but gives Ash and her family a community to belong to and make lifelong friends.
Nikki encourages West Australians to dig deep this October, “your generosity means that we can help create a world that includes my daughter in it. You are helping raise awareness of Autism and how it affects families on a day to day basis. You are helping people understand, feel compassion and empathy for so many children. You provide opportunities for children like Ash to be themselves, which is such a beautiful and important thing.”
You can donate today at telethon7.com/donate