What makes us unique as a family? Possibly the way we look at things. The way our characters and our emotions influence the colour of the glasses through which we see the world. Throw our difference in upbringing, our ages, our financial and social circumstances and our education (or lack thereof) into the mix, and you’re possibly half way there in imagining what it might be like living in our house. However, it goes a long way in explaining why no two people can ever really look at or experience things the same way.

In my case, I'm a 49 year old with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fybromialgia and have recently been diagnosed with liver disease. I am also home educating a 13 year old son with Asperger's and a 12 year old daughter with auditory processing disorder. Living with my husband, who is studying for a degree on top of a full time job, and who tries to stay active as a musician.

Everyone in our house definitely has a completely different approach to… well… just about everything.

Recently, I had to change my nutrition drastically in order to improve my health. My son sees this as a lifestyle choice. My daughter isn't happy about it, because she doesn't like the new food preparation. My husband just toddles along and eats what gets put in front of him. And that's just about food.

Everyone in my house is so different, that it sometimes halts us in our tracks. With everybody pulling in his or her different direction, we are rapidly going nowhere. Helping people remain unique while still learning how to function within society, and evolving in a way that enables them to live a happy life, is a lifelong journey.

Take my son. He goes to classes in an education center for six lessons, soon to be seven. He also goes to fencing and has counselling. He really wants to go back to a mainstream school, but a special needs Asperger's unit failed him, leaving him struggling to stay healthy. After nearly two years at home, he has blossomed and is able to do all he needs and much more, so really wants to try and take his GCSE's with his class mates. He will now go to a small school and start year 10 in September.

He is very much into all the maths and sciences. We all hope he will learn to become a bit more aware of other peoples needs, and the fact that having a different opinion isn't necessarily a bad thing or an attack, but rather an opportunity to broaden your mind.

My daughter is a true artist, a creative soul through and through, always doodling, telling stories, loving music and working hard on her stage skills. She is the free spirit, trapped in today's 'it's all about ticking boxes' world. Although she has an amazing memory and perfect pitch, she struggles greatly with her self-esteem, and with all the boring things school has to offer. We have found a more free spirited school for her, but there is no space in September, so she will go on the waiting list and use the next year to hone her skills and to prepare for re-entry. Not unlike a spaceship, thrusting through the atmosphere to return to Earth.

As you can tell, we are a rather odd bunch. Not good or bad, just a bit different. We have a unique way of looking at and standing in the world, which puts us a bit on guard, but with an understanding that most of us can't find in professional services.

I hope that everybody keeps finding the inspiration to keep the faith and to celebrate everything that comes with our uniqueness, which in the end is what makes us human, and connects us through our diversity, and making us stronger as a group, and more equipped to deal with the challenges life throws at us on a daily basis.

 

 I am Dominique Hamilton, 49 years old, living in Romsey, Hampshire. I am mum to a 13 year old son with Asperger's and a 12 year old daughter with auditory processing disorder. I am married to a New Zealander with a full time job while studying for a Bachelor's degree in Business Management (final year).

My background lies in Social Work (Masters)(Children and Family services), Postgraduate in Family and Relationship sciences and Diploma of Individual Counsellor in Systems Therapy. I also studied for a teacher’s degree and am currently home educating both children due to lack of school places and EHCP.