“I am passionate about getting the word out to others who do not realise they are a carer, in the hope that they won’t have to struggle alone as much as I did in the early days,” Anthea says. “There is an unspoken understanding between unpaid carers.”
My story is unique because I am both an unpaid carer and a person with disabilities. Supporting my children with things that I also struggle with myself can be interesting, to say the least! However, I also learn so much about myself and my own needs through being their support person.
My name is Anthea, and I am a carer for my three Autistic children. I am Autistic myself and so is my husband. To say my role is full time is a huge understatement! Managing four NDIS plans, many therapy appointments and support workers, in addition to extra-curricular activities, schooling and family life, is a huge undertaking.
For the first six years of being an unpaid carer, I had no idea I was a carer. I thought I was doing what any mum would for their child!
Finding support groups, being able to attend events for carers and connecting with other people in similar circumstances has been so valuable for me. The groups are honestly a life support for me. Since being linked to carer supports, I have attended many lunches, movies, and events. I have completed my Mental Health First Aid certificate and had training for group facilitation and carer coaching.
These days, it’s hard for me to find a moment to rest, as life is so busy. Being an Autistic carer has allowed me to find a new passion in life. I am a volunteer advocate for a carer organisation, I am on a consumer advisory committee and have been studying Autistic leadership, part of which involves me creating a brand-new support group for Autistic adults.
I can’t imagine my life any other way. I am so proud of being Autistic and a carer. My children are amazing people whom I am in awe of, and life is full of excitement and opportunity. Of course, we face many challenges daily that most people wouldn’t comprehend.
There is an unspoken understanding between unpaid carers. Having support, role models and countless opportunities, not just for myself but for my children as well, makes such a difference in our lives.
It is so important to have these things for carers. I am passionate about getting the word out to others who do not realise they are a carer, in the hope that they won’t have to struggle alone as much as I did in the early days.