Julia has always dreamed of having a family and was so happy the day she found out she was pregnant. Little did she realise at the time that her beautiful boy, William, would define their family life.
Eighteen months after William, Ryder was born. During the latter stages of pregnancy with Ryder, Julia developed HELLP syndrome and ended up in intensive care for four days. Thankfully, Ryder and Julia were saved and thanks to the amazing doctors their family grew to four.
During this hectic time, William had a regular maternal health nurse visit. The Maternal Childcare Health Nurse (MCHN) had been trained by La Trobe University in a pilot program on understanding Autism. It was no surprise that during the appointment she noticed a few things that were perhaps not quite the norm with William.
Our MCHN spoke with the university and a visit ensued. Shortly after our first visit, William was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He was only 22 months old and while Julia had heard of the word Autism, she never really had to understand exactly what it was until it directly affected her family.
William went on to be accepted in the ASELCC (Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre) at La Trobe University. They provide ‘early learning programs and specific support for children with ASD aged 0 to 6 years and training and support for parents in the care of their children.’ This program was amazing for William and he grew from strength to strength.
Through tears, worry and doubt over William’s future, Julia and her husband, Andy, chose to dedicate their lives to making sure that both their boys, diagnosis or not, would be given every chance to live happy, fun, inclusive and successful lives.
Twelve months later, Julia and her husband, Andy, and sister Liz founded William Ready. A one-on-one learning program specifically designed for William. They renovated their home into a school setting with three different zones/areas. Their aim was to prepare William for Primary school led by Julia’s sister, Liz who is a primary school educator. William Ready soon became a supportive environment where William could be himself, a place where his strengths were celebrated, and his challenges were always supported and guided.
Along the way we utilised Andy’s engineering experience to design and develop a range of educational products that didn’t currently exist. These innovative and creative products not only help kids like William, but ALL children succeed.
Julia wants William to grow up in a world that embraces inclusiveness, where children are encouraged to play, create, explore and investigate in a safe and supportive environment. A world where uniqueness is not only accepted but celebrated.
Julia and Andy created an environment for William and Ryder which has led to helping other families like theirs. Being open about life, Autism and the challenges it brings, helps others see there is hope.