Mum and carer Kerry shares her experience of caring for her 25-year-old daughters who has physical and intellectual disability.


Mum and carer Kellie shares her experience of caring for her twin daughters, both with intellectual disability.

An invitation declined

Yes I would love to come to your party

Thank you for your invitation

I can’t wait to talk to you again

So long since I’ve had a conversation


Just give me a couple of days’ notice

My free time is not something I own

Actually I don’t have the spare hours

I’m a bit trapped back here at home

Illustration of woman with shopping trolley
Illustration of two women sitting next to each other talking

What's it like to have a disabled child?

I sat down at the crowded table we’d booked a seat at and greet one of the very few people I liked in the whole crowd of god‐awful people in Rockhampton. “Hey Dana, how are you?”

Dana had huge brown eyes with eyelash extensions that she regularly batted for emphasis when making a point. Big hair, big laugh and a big personality. I loved being in her company as did many others and she was always surrounded by gossipy girlfriends – most of whom I purposefully kept my distance from. They exchanged cruel judgement on anyone who was an outsider to their cliquey little group and I was definitely an outsider.

The eye of discrimination

I watched and admired the nimble fingers of Dr K search through the rows of glass lenses stacked neatly inside a red velvet lined box. He chose one and lifted it deftly out of its hollow.

An enormous light fitting on the end of an extension hinge on the ceiling was brought over to be above Shianna’s face. Dr K switched it on and Shianna squinted in protest but didn’t attempt to roll over and escape from the bed she was lying on. At four years old she was still the size of a 12 month old – and a miniature one at that. I tugged the pink frills of her dress down to move the bodice away from her chin.

Illustration of woman talking to doctor with child by her side
Illustration of woman on the phone looking shocked while looking after a child

The steps to frustration

The sun was absolutely glorious – hot enough to revel in the sensation of warm honey being poured over my body without being so hot as to make the sand scalding to walk on with bare feet. Tegan and Jake were frolicking in the foam whilst seagulls bickered overhead, all hoping we’d have more scraps than just the few hot chips they’d managed to scavenge out of our hands as we ate. We did, but I’d wrapped them up again to avoid the ‘beach chickens’ from swooping down and taking the rest whilst we weren’t watching. We might want more of them later.