Today’s guest on ‘All things Autism” Gateway Radio in Essex was Georgia McCormick
Hi my name is Georgia McCormick. Slightly bonkers mum to two amazing boys, 19-year-old Isaac, and 14-year-old Archie. I am married to my long-suffering husband Scott. I am rather too keen on roast potatoes, cake, and a sucker for buying too many plants and crystals. So, pour yourself a large glass of wine or a big mug of coffee, while I ramble on. I was asked by Anna to contribute by writing this article and thought to myself, what on earth has she let herself in for? I promise to behave.
Anyhow, what a year it has been with COVID-19! It has been like watching a slow car crash seeing the devastation it is causing across the UK and the rest of the world. After shielding for 9 months, I brought it home from hospital to my family over Christmas (lovely Christmas present!) and to say it was not traumatic is a lie. My youngest son unfortunately was hit hardest by it.
I spent 12 solid days sleeping on the floor beside him, whilst still ill myself. Two ambulances later with Oxygen levels slipping was enough to tip me slightly over the edge. You know, my biggest fear the whole way through this was him having to attend hospital, Archie being Autistic, would I or would not I be allowed to stay with him?
Because of all the COVID-19 measures in place, plagued my anxiety daily, there would be no way he would cope with hospital on his own. This was just something that still is not clear in the hospital policies, given many of us do have children with additional needs. I really feel this is an area that needs publicly addressing. Luckily, we did not have to find out.
My husband then caught it and ended up in hospital, he has Multiple Sclerosis, and it was touch and go initially, but he too fought his way back to health. Then my eldest caught it, and he soldiered through with some horrible sensory feelings in his nose, luckily no major breathing problems. I feel extremely fortunate we got through it all, and really have put that whole horrible situation in the bin, I hope to never go through that again.
My eldest son Isaac is a phenomenal musician, and up until COVID-19 was gigging a lot in various music establishments, with his band across the UK who are highly sought after in the PUNK world. COVID-19 has seen the horrible death of the music industry now, which is soul destroying.
Music has always been Isaacs thing from when he was young. He picked up the guitar at age 4 and has never put it down (Also cost us a lot in guitars over the years!) Little did we know when Isaac developed severe Tourette Syndrome at 14, that the guitar would also be his saving grace. It stopped his tics in its tracks whilst he played.
Now as an adult the music scene has embraced him and vice versa, it is a remarkably diverse world in the music scene, and you can really be who you are instead of trying to fit in. A far cry from the trouble we had in school, trying to get the teachers to understand Tourette Syndrome, I spent most weeks going into school educating staff.
Some were great, but disapprovingly so many were not. The time at home has given Isaac time to write more songs, but obviously he is so keen to rekindle his social life. After all, at 19 you really do not want to be stuck indoors all the time.
My youngest son Archie who I have been home educating for 9 years now, where 1 mainstream and 2 specialist provisions could not meet his needs. He is thriving in the home educating world and the home educating community is full of wonderfully diverse people too.
I feel sad that peoples experience of home education is now one of strict COVID-19 rules, a strict curriculum to follow and nothing like home education and its flexible approach. Normally we meet up regularly with other home ed families, learn together and have a wealth of resources between us.
Archie has completed lots of online courses, has a special friend (unlike in school) who he speaks to regularly, is currently taking a Japanese language course and is such a happy lad. I could ramble on all day about how far we have come; how much he has taught me over the years too, and that I am forever grateful I could do this.
A far cry from when I removed him from school age 5, they were bad days with bad mental health issues, that I struggle to speak about it in all honesty, but because that chapter is finished. School is not somewhere where all children thrive unfortunately.
My only advise I can offer other parents now having to home-school, is try not to let it be a battle ground. I promise you your child will not fall so far behind; they will never amount to anything like they are constantly being told by various people. Do not believe the fear that they must be a certain level at a certain stage, nonsense.
They just need to be safe, happy and get through these strange times like us. The stories I can tell you about how far children can come, despite gaps in education are amazing. Children learn in so many ways, and life skills are equally important if not more to our amazing children.
For your own sanity take some time out, you are not a teacher, (well some of you maybe are). Save sometime for yourself, work on your own mental health to keep yourselves well. I love gardening, reading, and trying not to buy more plants!! Shut the laptop and go make some cakes or order a takeaway!
Anyway, Finally I am also retraining for a new career. Where I gave up my lecturing job to home- ed’ 9 years ago, I am now training to become a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist. Even my brain is learning again as an adult because learning has no age restrictions. And I blinking love it, apart from the essays!
I do hope I have not bored you all too much! Keep safe my lovelies and chin up.