Kat Cox with her daughter Quinn enjoying the ride on the Puffing Billy.

QUINN Cox is a two and a half year old girl from Grantville.
She’s very energetic, and a special and wonderful daughter to mother Kat Cox.
Quinn was diagnosed with autism and chromosomal deletion in December last year, and Kat is pushing to raise awareness of not only autism, but sensory disorders and ADHD.
“The autism spectrum is vast, but is essentially characterised by different degrees of social, behavioural and communication challenges, restricted and repetitive behaviours and poor motor skills,” Kat said.
“We knew Quinn was special from the outset. She could not hold her head up until she was eight months old and developed a condition called torticollis, where one side of her skull is flat, as she slept all the time.
“I was informed later that autistic children are often described as perfect babies.”
But since around the time she turned one, Quinn hasn’t slept for more than two hours each night.
“Her batteries never seem to run out and she requires my constant attention so that she does not hurt herself.”
Kat said it can appear like she’s a lazy mother and even her mother often jokes that Quinn looks as if “nobody owns her”.
“Those close to us understand that it often takes up to 30 minutes and the strength of two adults for a simple nappy change,” Kat said.
It can seem like Quinn’s meltdowns are just naughty behaviour, but Kat said a meltdown is not the same as a tantrum.
“It is not goal-orientated and only ends once the energy has been spent.”
Quinn will often lock herself in a dark cupboard to “ground herself” and calm down.
Kat said the best way for people to understand her daughter’s behaviour would be to think of Sheldon from TV’s The Big Bang Theory, who personifies autism with his high intellect, inability to read facial queues, literal thinking, meltdowns triggered by routine changes and social awkwardness.
“While Quinn’s brain is wired differently to others, she is a special and wonderful human being.
“Through education we can embrace and help special-needs children and their families navigate through unknown and challenging waters.”
Kat believes the Bass Coast community is the best place to start.
“There are programs available such as the Early Childhood Intervention Scheme and Grantville Pharmacy has agreed to stock a range of sensory necklaces, fidget cubes and the like to help calm and settle the children.
“The world would not be the same without autistic people.
“After all, where would we be today without the likes of Mozart and Einstein?”

Autism support group welcomes all

PARENTS, families, carers and friends of children who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (autism, Asperger’s syndrome, pdd-nos etc) are warmly invited to attend a meeting of the Inverloch & District ASD Support Group.
The support group meets on the first Wednesday of the month during school terms.
The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 7 from 10.30am to 12.30pm at the Inverloch Hub’s large meeting room that opens out to the playground (16 A’Beckett Street).
Tea and coffee are provided at no cost. All are welcome to join in for a cuppa and a chat while the kids can play in the playground.
This is a parent-run group providing support, information sharing and social get-togethers.
For more information on services available in our local area, check out the Autism Gippsland website: https://sites.google.com/site/autismgippsland/home
Can’t make the meetings? Join the group on Facebook: Inverloch & District ASD Support Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/221088864683122/
The meeting dates for 2017 are: Wednesday, August 2; Wednesday, September 6; Wednesday, November 1 and Wednesday, December 6.
For more details, phone Julie on 5657 4248 or Tona on 0407 622 949, tonaleo@me.com