Sue Casement - This is Our Lunaverse

Sarah Casement, is a Wirral Mum whose two daughters, Luna and Violet, inspired her to write a beautiful new book for autistic children and their siblings.

Her older daughter, Luna, has learning difficulties and is on the pathway towards an autism diagnosis. Inspired by the friendship of her two daughters, Sarah has recently published a story about her struggles, as told by her little sister. It is a children’s picture book, a heartwarming story about appreciating differences! It’s called This is Our Lunaverse and available on Amazon.

Sarah is hoping to reach as many people as possible, especially those who may be at different stages throughout the diagnosis process, and to help people appreciate and understand others’ differences. So far, Sarah’s had fantastic feedback and had sold well over 100 copies after just a few days on sale at Amazon.

So we asked Sarah to write a blog all about her daughters and her experience writing her book…

This Is Our Lunaverse by Sarah Casement

“My name is Sarah I live on the Wirral with my husband Tom and we have two beautiful daughters, Luna and Violet. Ironically, I am no writer and publishing a book was never something I aspired to do, it came by a happy accident.

“Luna was born in 2017 a happy health baby – she was perfect. She was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 10-weeks and required to wear a harness 23.5 hours per day, this upset me more than it did her, she wasn’t fazed. Eight-weeks later and her hip placement was exactly where it needed to be, and no surgery was needed – we couldn’t be happier. She was slower to crawl and walk than expected, which we’ve always assumed was due to the harness. She began saying her first words as expected, her first word being baby, which always made us laugh as she sounded Scottish. She would say words and then suddenly stop, she seemed to never use them appropriately.

“When Luna was 2, I gave birth to my little girl Violet. Luna instantly loved her, she would try to kiss her all the time, she would giggle when she was near her. She was never jealous and although this was big change to her life she took it in her stride, just like she did when giving up dummies, transitioning into a big girl bed and potty training.

“After Violet was born, Luna was still delayed in her speech and I was desperate to get her into an educational setting. She joined a preschool 3 mornings a week and this was great, she really enjoyed this, and was just getting settled when Covid-19 hit. She was then just at home with me and her sister – I felt useless, I didn’t know how I could help her. I tried everything I could think of, but between looking after her sister and working I felt like I was failing. I know I’m not the only parent who felt this during lockdown.

“Fast forward to September 2020 and, thankfully, Luna was placed full time in her pre-school. She adapted brilliantly and loved going. It was now more apparent this wasn’t just a speech delay, so we contacted our GP to get a referral. We decided in December 2020 to take her private, so we could get the ball rolling for additional support. She had a Zoom call on the Friday and face-to-face Saturday, it was a developmental assessment to which I was advised we can’t be given a diagnosis in one session. However, the consultant was confident she has a social, communication and interaction disorder with additional speech delay.

“He gave us a plan as to what should happen next and getting support in place, expecting to be seen again in April. Thankfully her school has been brilliant and she is due to start next week with her additional support in place. I am undertaking a Level 2 in Understanding Autism, as well as speech and language program for those with speech delay and additional needs called More Than Words. Unfortunately, like most specialties, she is still waiting her referral to a pediatrician. I dread to think how far behind we would be without the private appointment.

“I absolutely love children’s stories and Violet particularly loves reading them, but always felt under represented and wished to have one we could relate to, to help Violet understand too. So, I had the idea what if I wrote one? I knew it had to include Violet. She may not be delayed like Luna but she’s on this journey just as much, learning to adapt to a sibling with additional needs. She has done a tremendous job, she is so patient, so kind and always includes Luna. There is no judgement or prejudice, just friendship and love, and I wanted to share that.

Lunaverse book

“We have known for a while Luna was different and everyone always said she’ll get there. After all, ‘Einstein didn’t talk till he was 4’. It’s as she’s gotten older the gap between her peers became more obvious. So, for me, any diagnosis although daunting, it is expected. However I know there are a lot out there who may be in a similar situation to us, but receiving that diagnosis will be completely unexpected and overwhelming, so I wanted a story others can relate to as well.

“Another reason I wanted to write the story was for Luna to be understood, I worry so much for how she was being perceived, assumed she’s naughty when she has a meltdown, she’s rude when she doesn’t speak, she’s ‘weird’ when she giggles and squeals looking in the mirror for the 100th time. A lot of people assume Luna can’t be autistic because she doesn’t do this, or she’s able to do that, but that’s the misconception. There isn’t one way to be, everybody is different especially those with autism and it’s important to change the narrative about how they are expected to be and embrace them for who they are.

“Please do join us in our Lunaverse, it really is a very special place to be. Thank you.”

If you’d like to buy a copy of Sarah’s beautiful book “This is our Lunaverse”, you can order a copy here on Amazon.