In 1970 Trudy McCullagh’s son, Darren, was born frighteningly premature, a full three months before his due date. Little Darren was strong, however, and in time the doctors told Trudy the pair would be able to make the journey home. But there had been complications. “Before I could take him home from the hospital, we were given the news,” she says. Darren was going blind.
“Since then, I’ve been able to say, if only he was only blind,” Trudy adds because that diagnosis was just the beginning.
Photos from Darren’s early years in the 1970s show a sweet little boy, with blond hair like his mother, but Trudy became concerned when she started to notice changes in his behaviour. He was around two years old when she realised his needs may be more complex than she first thought. Her little man was easily distressed. He would scream for no apparent reason, and Trudy didn’t know how to calm him down.
“The telephone would ring, and he’d scream for two hours. Even if I went and touched him because I wanted to show him his toys, he’d scream. Not cry, scream,” Trudy says. It wasn’t until he was four that he was diagnosed with autism, and as she sought to find support, Trudy felt deeply alone.
“It was heartbreaking. The early years were extremely difficult. I had no family here in Australia. Nobody could advise me where to go, who to see,” she says.
The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children at Carlingford, in Sydney, cared for Darren during his childhood, but he would often scream most of the day.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Rita Moreno My WEST SIDE STORY
As West Side Story gets a reboot, Tinseltown legend Rita Moreno reflects on both her early years in Hollywood and the movie that would end up changing her life.
Perfect for summer, these sharing-style dishes follow the healthy Mediterranean diet principles.
FOOD or SEX?
Actor Stanley Tucci’s lockdown videos and Emmy-winning food show turned him into a hot, midlife crush. Now he’s written a memoir about cooking, love and loss.
Escaping the Chrysanthemum cage
Meet Mako Komuro, the Japanese princess who created a storm of controversy when she sacrificed her ties to family, wealth and title to marry the man she loves.
A dog's life
They work harder than any employee, never ask for a pay rise and – along with a positive environmental impact – help family businesses stay afloat. Now a new documentary explores the effects working dogs have on the farming industry.
Meet the Silver Salties, a club of age-defying beach buddies who are fun and fabulous, gutsy and resilient, and who change lives.
The spirit of Australia
Their Excellencies David and Linda Hurley were heartbroken they couldn’t see their grandchildren for much of 2021. But when the lockdowns finally ended, they invited The Weekly along to a very happy family reunion.
Meet our high-flying first responders
When someone’s in trouble in Australia’s rugged wilderness or wild oceans, first responders put their own lives on the line to get there. The Weekly salutes our rescue chopper crews.
Nicole Kidman - “It's nice to make people laugh for a change”
Oscar buzz is humming for Nicole Kidman’s brilliant portrayal of comedienne Lucille Ball. In a candid interview as Nic returns to our shores with her family, she reveals why this was such a tough and special role, the magic that fuels her marriage and how protecting her daughters is her top priority.
No joking matter
Days ahead of a hesitant start to 2022, Julia Morris gives her thoughts on how to embrace an uncertain new year – and not get cancelled while doing it.
Ford Foundation's Darren Walker: ‘We Have to Get Uncomfortable'
DARREN WALKER, 62, disrupted his Wall Street life more than 25 years ago when he left what is now UBS Group AG to volunteer at a school and eventually pursue a career in community development and philanthropy. Since 2013 he’s been at the pinnacle of the philanthropic world as president of the Ford Foundation, created by the family of automaker Henry Ford during the Great Depression to advance human welfare.
Looking back at 2020 season
The 2020 season will absolutely be remembered for being one of the strangest and most disappointing in franchise history.
THE ART OFTHE SNACK Alfie's Bar + Kitchen
This month's The Art of the Snack takes us to Alfie's Bar & Kitchen where we find out about this organic and sustainable eatery. Chef Darren Pettigrew talks about what we should think about ordering from signature dishes to cocktails and how they have been navigating these past few months!
THE DROP WITH STEVE AOKI
We're sure that we have all been listening to a lot more music as we have navigated these past few months as it's a way to transport ourselves to another level even when our environment may look way to familiar at this point.
No masking this issue
League, Raiders continue to evolve amid pandemic
Three Foundations for Discipleship in Small Groups
Although the ministry, teaching, and influence of Jesus reached thousands, Jesus spent the majority of His time working with only 12.
Premieres Friday, May 1, on Netflix
Rookie Renfrow leads Raiders wide receivers
CHINESE FACTORIES FACE NEW THREAT: US ANTI-VIRUS CONTROLS
Factories in China, struggling to reopen after the coronavirus shut down the economy, face a new threat from U.S. anti-disease controls that might disrupt the flow of microchips and other components they need.
EXXON OUTLINES ITS STEPS TO REDUCE HARMFUL METHANE EMISSIONS
Exxon Mobil outlined how it is reducing the methane its operations release into the atmosphere, detailing its efforts as governments around the globe write new rules to regulate the harmful greenhouse gas.