A WIRRAL mum whose life was put on hold while she fought for her autistic son’s education hopes to raise awareness of the hidden disability with the launch of her new book.

Gina Larrisey, from Eastham, began writing Chasing Rainbows three years ago.

It tells the story of her 10-year-old son – who she calls “the chickpea” to preserve his privacy – and his life with complex special needs, one of which is autism, and the struggles and heartache Gina and her family have been through.

The 43-year-old mother-of-four said: “I felt that as it is a subject close to my heart, that I could help other people going through similar situations. My aim is also to help with autism awareness. Autism is a hidden disability and is often misunderstood.

“Over a two year period our son’s self-esteem and confidence were shattered through lack of understanding and the mainstream school approach.

Wirral Globe:
Gina Larrisey at the launch of her new book, Chasing Rainbows. Picture by Geoff Davies.

“He regularly had meltdowns and would attack teachers or other pupils. He would hide under tables and crawl around on all fours growling like a dog. He was then ostracised to a small room on his own.

“While his little life was full of anxiety and confusion, ours too became increasingly frustrating and heartbreaking.”

Chasing Rainbows – Gina’s second book – also tells of her own decision to set certain things aside while she fought for her son, including giving up work to become his carer.

“It has been hard to write Chasing Rainbows as reading it back can be painful. It is a reminder of what we went through,” said Gina.

“I believe in turning negatives into a positive though and I know that my experiences will help somebody else. I also felt it was important to tell people what we went through because unless you have a child with special needs you will never understood what it is like to go through the special education needs system.”

Gina added: “My life has been literally on hold while I fought for my sons education and right to be supported in a stable and caring environment that suited his needs. I had no idea until it happened to us.

Gina’s son now attends Gilbrook School where he has the full support and understanding he needs. She says he has progressed massively over the last two years.

She added: “My aim with this story is to let those whose lives autism has already touched know that they are not on their own – there is always a rainbow after a storm.”

  • To find out more about Chasing Rainbows and Gina’s first book, From Care to Somewhere, visit ginalarrisey.com