Loving with Autism Update: Kevin Tarlinton Award

Kevin Tarlinton Award

When Thomas started his school journey I remember dropping him off to the class room and left him screaming as I went to the Grade 1 Mummy’s morning Tea and falling into a snivelling mess… wondering how on earth this little boy that wasn’t able to talk yet and communicate with those around him was ever going to do the journey of school… he won’t even wear shoes, I said… he just wants to wear sandals… but how will he be able to read and write when he can’t stop kicking in walls and windows…

Yes I know all he wants to do is look at the fans and play with the light switches… how will they understand what he needs? How will he understand the teachers? And what of the children make fun of him… how are we going to do this… what if he swears at school?? Will he be able to learn new things… and he is dealing with so much pain and grief losing his Dad… how can we do this, how can he??

Stop it Julie… stay in the moment and listen to the teachers and the community that can see the possibilities… stay in the moment and trust those around you.

And so tonight I celebrate and thank you, the teachers, the families, the students and the school communities at Petrie State School and Mt Maria College Petrie, it is all of you that saw the possibilities, that worked with Thomas, that loved him, that got the best out of him that supported me and showed me how he could achieve things that I never could have seen all on my own through all of the pain and stress we were in… but you could see it and you showed him, and I, that all kinds of wonderful achievements were possible…

And so when Thomas walked on stage tonight as a year 12 student and received the ‘Kevin Tarlinton Award’… awarded to the student who has worked consistently to overcome disadvantages in order to achieve their best personal educational outcome… well my heart exploded with pride in Thomas… because he certainly has overcome so much personal grief and then the challenges that come with Autism along for the ride… and then I was overcome with gratitude for each and every person who has been in Thomas’s life and believed in him and us… too many to name, but you know who you are and thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

It takes a community to raise a child and that is certainly the case with my Thomas Kent. <3 And to his big brother and his Dad… look at this… we did it!

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