The scrumptious little fella in the picture above is my Autistic son Ethan, he is 4.5 and was diagnosed with Autism just before his fourth Birthday much to our surprise and here is why…..
Ethan has been a handful from the moment he flew into our living room 9 days early, surprising the first midwife who had only managed to get one glove on and shocking the second who didn’t arrive until all the glory (should that be gore..y) was over with!
He cried constantly, never settled with anyone other than me but developed normally as far as we could tell. The boy “bum shuffled” rather than crawled for a long time but never seemed behind.
The eye opener for us that maybe there was something a little different was when he started in the local nursery at age 2. He joined his older sister who was almost 4 at the time and would have to be peeled from my body and carried literally kicking, scratching and screaming into the hall. Anywhere else and I would have figured it was the nursery at fault and moved him elsewhere but I knew this little place really well and the ladies working there too, so could not understand why he was acting the way he was.
In those first few months there where numerous hushed conversations with his key worker at pick up and forms to sign as he was being incredibly violent towards staff and the other children, including his sister. We had witnessed this at home with the whole family but thought perhaps as the fourth child we had let him “get away” with too much and needed to be firmer, but nothing worked at home or in nursery so they called in some expert back up in the form of a lovely lady called Sally who was our local early years advisory teacher. Sally came in every few months and assessed Ethan then listened to any concerns that we or the nursery staff had and gave us all some great advise which did make life for all concerned a little easier at times. The violent meltdowns did become fewer over the next year but there was still just something about his behaviour that didn’t seem right!
Ethan’s speech was always a fair bit behind but it never concerned me as he was always improving, but socially he wasn’t. He has always come across as a sociable and friendly boy but even now struggles to play “with” other children, preferring to play apart from others. He also tends to cling on to a specific adult who ends up being crucial to his ability to be in nursery, e.g. when his beloved key worker left the setting his behaviour was horrendous for weeks!
We have always joked that he rules the roost and would make a great dictator but living with his controlling ways makes life very unpredictable, the whole family treads on egg shells when interacting with Ethan as you really never know what may send him into a meltdown or what reaction you will get to a simple “hello” said in his direction!
Anyway I need to feed the tribe and all the furbabies now so
TO BE CONTINUED……….