HSC for the kid who nearly didn't make it

By the time Michelle Dwyer noticed her baby rolling off the bed, it was too late. He had crashed to the floor with a sickening thud.

Ms Dwyer scooped six-month-old Blake into her arms but the damage was done.

"I just wasn't quick enough, it was horrifying," Ms Dwyer recalled.

While the horrible memories are vivid, the mum has something to celebrate. Her son, who wasn't meant to make it out of hospital, just got his HSC.

"This boy fought tooth and nail to survive, he lived. He stood amongst his peers and received his Higher School Certificate," Ms Dwyer said.

"He has achieved so much despite all the obstacles he had to overcome, he interprets the world differently than the average person, he learns differently, he acts differently but he can and he did learn, achieve and succeed."

Blake was a "nice, healthy 10 kilogram baby" when tragedy struck on February 10, 1995.

"We were having our place fumigated so we were at my mum's house in Wollongong. Blake was lying on the bed with pillows all around him," Ms Dwyer recalled, choking back tears.

"Out the corner of my eye I saw him rolling, he landed on the side of his head.

"His eyes were darting around, I thought 'no this isn't good'. He was screaming."

At hospital, his condition rapidly deteriorated. He was vomiting, had blood in his ear and soon couldn't hold his own body weight.

"All the signs you're told to look out for with head injuries, he had them."

Scans were next.

"Doctors, technicians, they were all huddled around and their jaws dropped."

Blake was rushed by air to Sydney where he underwent surgery for skull fractures and bleeding on his brain.

"He had a blood clot in between his brain and his skull that was six centimetres by three centimetres and the blood clot was putting pressure on his brain."

After surgery, Blake was placed in an induced coma to recover, and was well enough to leave hospital two weeks later.

But the effects of the accident have stayed.

"His learning and cognitive development is delayed. He is very much like an autistic kid. The way he interprets the world is completely different," Ms Dwyer said.

"Because he has trouble socially, he has been bullied a lot. He has severe mood swings, he can be very loving and then not."

A move to Canberra last year helped, with Blake fitting in well at his new school.

"Now he wants to be a baker. He's looking to get an apprenticeship. He's done it his way," Ms Dwyer said." Not bad for a kid who they said wouldn't live, anyway.

"So, for the parents of every different child, my advice is never give up," she said.

Blake Dwyer as a baby.

Blake Dwyer as a baby.

Blake has delighted his mum by receiving his HSC.

Blake has delighted his mum by receiving his HSC.

"Never lose hope that they will do it. They will reach their full potential in ways that may even surprise you."


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