A trip to the show when everything changed

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Georgia is my sweet, friendly 12-year-old. She wasn’t born with disability, but when she was very little, a series of seizures and medications left her with intellectualdisability and epilepsy.

When my Georgia was a baby, I dreamed of teaching her how to drive a car, going to her graduation, helping her move out of home and watching her walk down the aisle.

Those dreams have had to change a little.

My daughter was just nine months old when she had her first seizure. That’s when everything changed for us.

It was so cold that day when everything changed. We had promised the kids we would take them to the Royal Adelaide Show - so we rugged them up and off we went.

I’m sure you can understand how busy a day with the kids at the show can be. We were happily watching the fireworks and getting ready to make the trip home.

I looked down at my littlest, Georgia, and I could tell something wasn’t quite right. She was staring, but her eyes weren’t focused.

Shortly after hunting down a paramedic, we were at the hospital. My baby had a seizure. She was paralysed on her right side and she had been left with a scar on her brain.

You never think it’s going to happen to you. I certainly didn’t. But for the grace of God, I always say.

Luckily, we have had amazing support, I don’t know where we would be without it.

Please will you show your support with a donation today?

It has been a slow process, coming to terms with what Georgia’s limitations are. Every so often it hits me and I feel really sad for my beautiful girl. Sad that she is going to have more challenges than she should have in life.

I remember one day she crawled under the dining table and she couldn’t get herself out. I thought – you should know how to get out of there – and that was one of the first moments it hit me that life was going to be much harder for Georgia.

The first five years of Georgia’s life were a nightmare. We were in and out of hospital with seizures and Georgia couldn’t speak. Can you imagine how frustrating it must be not being able to communicate?

I would take her to groups for speech and occupational therapy. The other kids had speech issues, but there was no one there quite like Georgia. She was always the onethrowing herself back and screaming blue murder. I cried a lot as we left each week. I felt hopeless.

When Georgia started school, the goal was to have her sit in a chair. That was it. Just to sit in a chair. Her communication was very limited and we had no success in toilet training. I did all the courses, read all the books - I could tell you more about toilet training than anyone needs to know. But it wasn’t until Georgia was seven years old that it finally clicked.

 Over the last few years, Georgia has astounded us. She is learning more and more every day. We didn’t dare imagine that she would have achieved what she has.

One of the concerns I’m sure every parent has is whether their child will be liked – whether they’ll have friends.

I remember one day Georgia was watching Play School –it’s her favourite show. There was a little group of girls singing a song about best friends and I just burst in to tears. It was one of those moments when I felt this bang and thought – what if she never has a friend?

Georgia is such a lovely kid and her social skills are getting much better. She has always gotten along with other students because she’s nice, but she had never had a real friend of her own. Recently she has started making real friendships, and that makes my heart burst with happiness.

What worries me the most these days is Georgia’s future. I want her to have the opportunities that my other children have – to work, to have her own life and to be happy.

The truth is that if Minda was unable to help us, I don’t think Georgia would have a chance at independence.

I feel so relieved with the support we are receiving. It is busy, let me tell you! But, without the help from Minda, life would be stressful. And it is giving me so much confidence for Georgia.

Georgia’s plan involves speech therapy, psychology, occupational therapy and physio. She also spends time with a developmental educator and a disability care worker.

All the support is working towards her future independence. So she practices catching public transport, buying items from the shop and making sure she has a receipt, handwriting and socialising.

It is vital that we start this now. I don’t want her to be taken advantage of.

Georgia is learning so much and at the moment, we are very blessed. The future may be a challenge, but I have hope.

I have hope that when Georgia has finished her schooling, she will be able to take part in day options or employment at Minda. Developing skills and accomplishment are so important in life.

I also hope that one day Georgia might be able to live on her own with support from Minda. We moved our home closer to Minda so that when the time comes, we are nice and close.

This future for Georgia is only possible with the kindness and generosity of people like you who believe that not only do people with disability deserve a roof over their heads, but respect, independence and joy.

You can give kids with disability a chance at a meaningful and independent future. Please send in your donation today.