We were told Olivia had a hole in her heart whilst she was still in the womb. It was quite a large hole for what they'd expect but we were told it shouldn't cause any issues. At birth she was put in PICU as her heart kept stopping unexpectedly. She spent 4 weeks in intensive care, during this time she had surgery to fix the hole. Her heart had stopped 27 times in those 4 weeks! She was put on medication to control her heart rhythm and to this day still has it and hasn't (touch wood) had an episode of her heart stopping since.
When Olivia was 18 months old she started crèche, by time she was 2 there were concerns that she wasn't interacting with other children, spent all her time alone and had major meltdowns. The crèche spoke to us and expressed their concerns. At this point Olivia only had an older sister Kia who was 7 years older than her and Kyla (her little sister) had just been born and was in hospital fighting for her life, so me and Mark put it down to the fact that she wasn't getting a lot of attention and she was no longer the baby of the family. We had slight concerns ourselves but not really anything major.
When Olivia turned 3 she started deliberately hurting herself, not majorly but she would bite herself, pick skin and scratch herself raw. We of course by this point had seen lots more traits of autism and had major concerns ourselves. 😕
Olivia had now started nursery school and the school referred her to the child psychologist. After 6 months of investigations, tests and observations, Olivia was diagnosed with high functioning autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Two weeks after diagnosis Olivia started on methylphenidate (Ritalin) to control her behaviours linked to ADHD.
Olivia likes very strict routines and can't cope when these are changed. She only eats certain foods, she still wears nappies at night, she likes her home comforts and really struggles to regulate her moods and behaviours.
Her ADHD medication is working really well and we no longer see any self harming issues. Olivia goes to specialist behaviour school around 40 minutes from our home, she gets county transport there and really enjoys school now.
Although Olivia has lots of behavioural struggles in her life as she is high functioning autistic she is extremely clever for her age and thrives in maths and lots of sports. She's a great big sister to her 6 little siblings. She has her off days but doesn't everyone? She has regular check ups on her heart (3 monthly) and will more than likely need another operation in the future. Olivia is a very happy little girl and we are very proud to be her parents X