I am Gemma, aged thirty something from up North, UK. I’m married to the wonderful John and we have two children – Billy and Isla. John works incredibly hard for us all. He’s a grafter, always has been. He’s also an amazing daddy who is always there for the kids and has to juggle work and their needs which he does like a trooper! Billy is 8 going on 80, he has very old shoulders. He is football mad, he plays it and he watches it, he’s always happiest when he has a football at his feat. Billy is incredibly caring, understanding, wise, clever and handsome. We are immensely proud of him. Isla is 6. She is princess mad and loves puzzles, dressing up and YouTube.
Isla is incredibly funny, she has us in stitches, she’s brave, resilient, strong and beautiful. She also happens to have autism. We are immensely proud of her. Isla was diagnosed with autism aged 3. She didn’t talk, didn’t communicate, didn’t play. She was a very frustrated little girl who was very much in her own little world and I was so desperate to find a way in to it. Everyone described Isla as severely autistic and we were told that she may never communicate. I didn’t know of many people with autistic children back then, I knew one family with girls with autism but none who had girls with non verbal autism. Coming to terms with Islas diagnosis wasn’t easy for us, especially me. I found it hard in the early days. We were all very different people back then.
Fast forward 3 years and Isla has come on in leaps and bounds. Isla can now communicate! About aged 5 Isla started to use some words and her speech has come on loads. Most of Islas speech is still babble and echolalia (repetition), but she is using words more and more to communicate her needs and let us know what she wants. This has led her frustrations to lower and her behaviour to improve.
Isla is a very happy little girl these days. She still has no concept of danger and she still likes to mouth objects but she is constantly surprising everyone with how well she is doing, how much she’s changed, how quickly she’s coming on and her ability to communicate with or without words. She has her own sense of style, she now plays with toys, uses her imagination and her smile is the biggest smile you will ever see.
I set up this blog because I wanted to share our journey, raise awareness and help people in our situation. I knew if I could just help one person or change one persons perceptions of autism then this page had served its purpose and I’m pleased to say it has.
Why Islas voice? Well that’s what we are. We were islas voice when she couldn’t communicate and in many ways we still are and always will be. We are her voice and her advocates, her biggest fans. We use this page to spread awareness which I know Isla would do if she were able and we hope in turn will create acceptance, which is what everyone wants for their child – to be accepted and loved for exactly who they are!
Welcome to our page, we are pleased you’re here sharing our journey.