Jasmine says her daughter, Olivia is a resilient person with an infectious laugh, who is always willing to give everything a go, despite any challenges that she may face.
Olivia was born at 34 weeks and had to spend a week at King Edward’s Memorial Hospital before she was discharged early at a healthy six pounds.
The next week, Jasmine’s world turned upside down. During a visit to her mother-in-law’s house, Olivia went into cardiac arrest. Jasmine performed emergency CPR to keep her alive. Olivia was immediately taken to Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) where she was diagnosed with a heart condition and taken to surgery, during which it was discovered that Olivia also had a lung condition.
Olivia needed to stay in hospital for the next three months of her life. The family did their best to adapt to this change in routine with dad, Josh still working full time, and their oldest daughter, Sofia staying at her grandmother’s house while still attending school. Josh and Jasmine would bring her to the hospital on weekends so they could all spend time together as a family. Once Olivia was discharged, she had to stay on oxygen at home for a further six months.
While still recovering from the emotional trauma of almost losing Olivia, the family’s journey was far from over. When Olivia was four months old, Jasmine noticed delays in her development. When Jasmine first brought up these concerns to Olivia’s treating team, they were initially dismissed as being a result of her heart and lung conditions. Knowing, that something was not right with her child, Jasmine began advocating on Olivia’s behalf. This successfully resulted in Olivia attending rehab for speech and physiotherapy. From there, Olivia was diagnosed with Global Development Delay (GDD) and was later accepted to receive support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The first diagnosis came as such as a shock, we’re still not able to fully process it. We didn’t feel the subsequent diagnoses as much after the trauma of almost losing her.
It was around this time that Jasmine was first referred to Kiind by the team at Heart Kids. Our team of Peer Navigators were able to support Jasmine, and provide one-on-one Pathway sessions and useful information resources that Jasmine credits as helping her understand how to support Olivia’s disability.
Olivia was also featured in Kiind’s Super Power Kids Project as part of the 2018 Awesome International Arts Festival, which included a 200-page book and three-month photographic exhibition.
Shortly after they participated in the project, the family grew with the arrival of Jasmine’s youngest daughter, Aria and Oliva turned two-years-old.
Jasmine noticed that Olivia was no longer babbling or speaking. After a trip to the paediatrician, and referrals to other specialists, Olivia was diagnosed with autism. As she is non-speaking, Olivia now uses a device to communicate.
Now four-years-old, Olivia’s most recent diagnosis is cerebral palsy which she received just months ago from a different developmental rebab team.
Each diagnosis is not going to change who she is.
Given Olivia’s complex needs, a typical week for both Jasmine and Olivia is exceptionally busy. Along with school, Olivia regularly attends speech therapy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy. As her primary carer, Jasmine provides Olivia with one-on-one support for tasks such as eating, using her communication device, and bathing. As Olivia also does not have safety awareness, she also requires supervision at all times.
Jasmine balances Olivia’s care with also raising two other daughters and studying to pursue a career as a support coordinator so she can use her own knowledge and experiences to help other families. Jasmine is exhausted most days and says that sometimes, it does not even feel like she has time to breathe.
While receiving multiple diagnosis for Olivia has been challenging, Jasmine chooses not to focus on each individual diagnosis but instead looks at the bigger picture. She believes that by being realistic about the life Olivia has, she’ll be able to provide her with the appropriate supports she needs.
For other parents and carers who are on a similar journey with their child, Jasmine says it is important to acknowledge when you need help and then reach out and ask for it, because there will always be support available regardless of your child’s situation or diagnosis.
If your child has recently received a new diagnosis, the Kiind Peer Navigators are here to help and direct you to the most appropriate supports. Click here to book a Kiind Pathway session.