Brendan is a 14-year-old boy who really wants to be a basketball superstar.
He loves playing Mario Kart on his Nintendo Wii and science lessons at school. And in his spare time, he’s a secret agent – but more on that later.
Brendan lives with autism and ADHD. As his mum Marcelle tells Mamamia, he has struggled to balance health issues with the challenges of high school and making friends.
Just recently, Brendan had to miss months away from his new school as he underwent a papilledema operation (a serious condition that involves the swelling of the optic nerve at the back of the eye).
“Starting year 7 is a hard time for most young people and this extended time off has been especially challenging for Brendan as he already struggled socially,” Marcelle says.
“We have had to learn a lot about how to help him and try to make sure he experiences the good times, as all children should.”
Brendan was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, after he stopped speaking around the age of two.
“We couldn’t believe it at first, but it was confirmed by two paediatricians and a private speech pathologist,” Marcelle shares. “His diagnoses of ADHD and anxiety followed, which often go hand in hand with autism.”
As any parent of a child with a disability knows, the road can be tricky to navigate. For Marcelle and Matthew, finding the best options for support for Brendan became a priority – especially as he grows from boy into a young man.
“We realised soon after he returned part-time to high school, that we needed not just practical help, but emotional and social support for him too,” Marcelle says.