Angela

caring for: daughter

My daughter was diagnosed when she was two and hadn't hit her milestones. My peers were potty training their children - that was impossible for me though I did try - and fail. I had already had my second child. I was shocked and bewildered when she was diagnosed. I immersed myself in books and websites, joined the NAS and became an expert. It didn't really help me. It has not been an easy journey and it has stretched me in ways I could never have imagined. I now have four children, and I am a single parent. I home school all my children. My role as a mother means I am a carer to my core. This is a role I am very happy to fulfil but I can get frustrated and disheartened at the lack of status that comes with being a carer. A market researcher at my door once asked me what I did. She had no box to tick for me except 'unemployed'. I could have cried. I work harder now than I ever did during my 17 years as a civil servant. A cahier in Co-op asked me what I was doing now. Raising four children, one with obvious special needs didn't cut it for her! "But how do you make a living?" Though I save the state many thousands more than I am paid, I have no status and the work I do is seen as having little or no value. It speaks volumes that we live in a country where those that look after the money (the bankers) are paid thousands of times as much as those who care for the vulnerable people in society.