It’s a tough job being a parent but when your little girl isn’t quite developing like others her age, it can be a very worrying time.
Donna Mulholland noticed when her little Leah was just six months old that she didn’t seem to be talking, and initially thought she may be deaf.
Donna and her partner, Michael Douglas, were concerned about her speech delay and had her tested then - but there was nothing wrong with her hearing.
“She is just in her own wee world,” said Donna, who is taking Leah for an Autism diagnosis later this summer.
“She can have a good three weeks and then a bad week,” Donna explained.
The 25-year-old mum said Leah could just go into a meltdown with tantrums and then simply go into her own wee world.
Routine is so important and everything has to be fully explained in advance, said Donna.
Three-year-old Leah is set to start Tullygally Nursery School in September and already Donna has introduced her uniform so she can get used to the idea of going to school.
“She has some social developmental delays and can’t communicate very well but I have great support round me,” said Donna.
She was full of praise for her health visitor and the Surestart organisation who has helped her get everything moving to get Leah the help she needs.
“If it were not for them, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” she said.
Donna is very modest about the care she gives Leah. “You just get used to it and adapt.”
Leah has little visual aids to help her locate things such as the bathroom.
Donna explains that she had to match the sticker she has in her hand to the one, for example, outside the bathroom door.
The visual aids help Leah to learn and get things she wants and needs.
Donna is set to do a Sky Dive in Coleraine later in the summer in order to raise cash for Autism NI.
In the meantime, she is running a fundraiser in The Stables on July 31.
DJ Pat Morgan will be providing the entertainment and it promises to be a fun night.
Local businesses have kindly supplied some interesting raffle prizes.
Donna is hoping more local businesses will donate to the raffle, and has asked that if they have anything she could raffle, to contact her on 07480 937 407.