A mother’s love for her children is unlike anything else in the world.
That reigns true for Newcastle’s Sarah Fisher who is a fierce advocate for her two kids, nine-year-old Alex and five-year-old Penny.
Her journey through motherhood has not come without its challenges though – Alex has Dup15q, a very rare syndrome that creates a strong risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder, epilepsy and intellectual disability.
“Being their mum is amazing,” she said in the lead-up to Mother’s Day.
“I feel like I am constantly on the go and constantly thinking but it brings a lot of joy.
“I can’t pretend and say it’s a walk in the park because it definitely isn’t.
“I get a lot of joy out of it but there are also a lot of sacrifices, problem solving and grief involved.
“With Alex things are very different, there are things that he finds challenging, but he is a very happy, affectionate and cheery boy most of the time.
“With Penny we see her take the steps we could only ever really imagine with Alex and when she hits those milestones, we are just completely in awe of what she achieves and what she does.
“At the end of the day, Alex has this diagnosis but he is also Alex, he loves music, he loves The Wiggles, he loves water and trampolines.
“One of the things we learn from him is that he gets a lot of joy from the simple things in life, things that we often overlook.
“He is quite an inspiration for us.”
Even though Alex is non-verbal, his love for his mum and his family is easy to see.
With support from their family and Alex’s school St Dominic’s Centre Mayfield – a Kindergarten to Year 10 school that provides an education of excellence for children with a range of disabilities – Sarah says it is exciting to watch him hit his own milestones, like learning how to communicate.
“My husband and I have come to terms with the fact that his life will be very different to what we envisaged it being,” Sarah said.
“When you become a parent, you think it’d be great if they do well at school and get a good job but now, we just really want Alex and Penny to be happy and healthy.”
Sarah’s experiences with her son and her professional knowledge as an occupational therapist have led her to be a strong advocate for him and other children with disabilities.
She believes one of the best things the community can do is ask questions and be mindful of people living with disability.
“I think it is very hard to understand what our life is like,” she said.
“I have noticed when we are out and about in the community the majority of our experiences have been really positive.
“Just recently, during the holidays I took Alex to a park that I thought he would love because it had a trampoline in it but it didn’t go to plan he started to get really frustrated and I had some little girls come up and start asking how old he was, why he couldn’t walk properly, why he wasn’t talking and it was quite challenging for me to answer those but I realised they were just interested and probably didn’t come across many children like Alex.
“After answering her questions, you could see that she wanted to be around him and play and then her mum came over and had a chat with me so in many ways I think it brings people together.”