TOUGH JOURNEY: Tamara Standley with her two autistic children Rhylee and Chase. Tamara is hoping her story will encourage people to be less judgmental.
TOUGH JOURNEY: Tamara Standley with her two autistic children Rhylee and Chase. Tamara is hoping her story will encourage people to be less judgmental. Christopher Chan

More to meltdowns than meets eye, says mum of autistic kids

WHEN Chase Standley, 2, has a meltdown in public, mum Tamara, just wants to feel like she's not being judged by bystanders.

Tamara and Cameron Standley have two autistic boys, Chase and Rhylee, 4, but they both lack the visual clue of having a disability.

Chase experiences meltdowns, tantrums and is non-verbal, whereas Rhylee is incredibly bright for his age, and has a photographic memory but also has communication issues.

Having two disabled children has been an eye-opener for the couple.

Tamara said previously she would wonder why parents couldn't control their children in public.

"Now I realise there may be something else going on, and there could be a reason the child is acting like that," she said.

The 24-year-olds moved to Gladstone from Brisbane in 2011, and believe people need to be more aware of the condition.

"It feels like people just stare at us and we get frowned upon but we're actually really good parents. Cameron works so hard to support our family," Tamara said.

"Autism is hard work, and some days I just want to break down and cry but then one of the boys will do something amazing which will totally surprise me and that keeps me going and keeps me motivated."

With a third child due in January, expected to be a girl, the pair are hoping she will not be on the autism spectrum.

The costs associated

  • Each week Tamara and Cameron spend $168 on a psychologist, $130 a week for speech therapy and $130 a week for an occupational therapist for Chase.
  • Rhylee's occupational and speech therapies take $260 a week out of their pockets.
  • Parents of children with autism are given $12,000 per child to spend before the child turns six.


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