JO HUNT, 32, MUM TO RYAN, 5, AND CURRENTLY 39 WEEKS PREGNANT (QLD)
Five years ago, Jo gave birth to her son, Ryan. After noticing he wasn’t hitting the same developmental milestones as other babies his age, Ryan was diagnosed at two and a half years of age with low-functioning autism. Jo and her husband, Grant, were suddenly faced with a whole new set of challenges. Shortly after he was diagnosed, Ryan began to have seizures – sometimes up to 15 a day – and was diagnosed with epilepsy in addition to autism.
To give Ryan the best therapies, Jo works five days a week and cares for Ryan on her own a lot of the time, as her husband works away for extended periods of time. “The hardest part is when I get sick and I go down – there is no-one. Basically I’ve got to suck it up and keep going,” she says.
Supporting others facing the same situation is important for Jo, who likes to lend her support online to other mums. “Facebook is great because it’s not intimidating. I log on and tell other mums my story. It’s so important to be positive and show them that you do have a chance of living a normal life, while encouraging them at the same time.”
Jo and Grant decided to add to their family last year but sadly Jo lost the baby. However, she is currently pregnant with another boy, due in September. “I wanted to have another boy, although it does mean we have a higher chance of autism. But Grant and I have sat down and talked about it.” she says. “We are not worried, we don’t care. We are already living an autistic life so we know we can do it. The pay-off is there to give Ryan a friend for life.”