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“There is a thirst for more awareness as I think society still views disability on an individual level rather than collectively”, said Joanna Taylor, mother of Gabriel, 16, Daniel, 14, and Samuel, 5 years of age. She further explained that awareness is more than detection and diagnosis of autism.

By profession Joanna and her husband are Nurses so for them complex health struggles were part of their daily life but when one of their sons was diagnosed with traits of autism, their life had gotten a lot more complex but the love towards each other and their children made them even stronger to face any kind of hardship.

Joanna Taylor explains how her second child, Daniel, was almost always unwell. He suffered from a speech delay and later was diagnosed with cow’s milk protein allergy, which resulted in inflammation in his digestive system. He also suffered from narrow ear tubes which ultimately affected his listening.

“Daniel has calmed down a lot. I remember when at the age of 9 he had to undergo an ENT procedure. A severe blockage had been removed and from then on he started to hear things he never heard before. That was life-changing. At the age of 14, he can now understand and do things compared to children aged 6 to 7. From that aspect, he can interact well with his youngest brother, Samuel”.

Joanna praised her husband’s constant support especially mental support at times when she felt drained or helpless.

She believes that nowadays people are more aware of the different kinds of disabilities but they view them on an individual level, in the sense that society does not always think of the family behind every individual.

“When a member of a family suffers from a disability, there are psychological effects on the entire family especially when minors are involved. In our case, there is only a 2 year age gap between Gabriel and Daniel and when they attended the same school, Gabriel, experienced some hardships. He always felt he had to take care of his brother which sometimes deprived him of fully living his teenagehood”.

Joanna further explains how Daniel progressed extensively in his own way.

“For us as a couple knowing that Daniel can attend Casa Apap Bologna, gives us time to recharge ourselves both mentally and physically, knowing that he is in good caring hands. But it is even more rewarding for him as he just loves going to Casa Apap Bologna to socialise”.

Taking a look back, for Joanna Taylor having her son diagnosed with traits of autism, character-wise, made her an even stronger parent.

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