Joseph is 9, and lives with autism and ADHD, for which he takes medication and has regular therapy. He has an inner ear disorder which makes him extremely prone to ear, throat and chest infections from the slightest illness, and has had 3 grommet operations, adenoid removal and his tonsils taken out. He’s spent time in ICU for pneumonia and recently had dental reconstruction surgery on his front teeth, but the worst of all was when he contracted Scarlet Fever. Twice during the 5 weeks of his illness he was so sick his parents thought they were going to lose him. Although he is not entirely non-verbal, he struggles to communicate well, especially in complex situations.
That’s why it took almost 18 months before Joseph’s mother was able to figure out that he was being was mentally and physically assaulted by another child at his special education centre. Joseph was coming home exhibiting bruises and bites, and his behaviour became increasingly challenging, but the school continued to assure his mum that everything was fine, and Joseph wasn’t able to explain what was happening. It broke his heart thinking that no one could help him.
Although his mother now homeschools him, he is still recovering mentally from the ordeal. In the last year his mum has also developed a serious illness, and Joseph always looks after her when she cannot walk and cook.
But he doesn’t let anything get him down. He is always positive and mature beyond his years, and has shown great strength in standing up for those who have faced what he had to endure.