Foot prints.


 Once the nursery had voiced their concerns things moved very quickly.

The health visitor came, a referral was made and a week later Evan was being put through his paces by a peaditrician.

At the end of that first appointment, which had lasted several hours and left Evan exhausted curled up asleep in my arms, the Dr explained he felt Evan was on the autistic spectrum,and would like him to attend a Child Development Centre for further indepth assessments.

I remember phoning my mum.

 I did not use the word Autism,in fact it was some time before I did.

The C.D.C

I think the best way to describe the Child development centre is a “one stop shop” to diagnosis

Evan attended for a full day once a week, he was assessed, observed , saw speech and language therapists,Occupational therapist, a dietitician ,clinical psychologist and was generally poked and prodded.

As well as the obvious delays and differences in  his development and speech Evan had lots of what I thought then were”quirky ways”

Lining cars up, spinning in circles,refusal to remove his shoes and socks at school and becoming distraught if asked to do so,stripping naked,repeating the same actions over and over,extreme reaction to sounds and smells, interest in water and hose pipes and  an obsession with Thomas the tank engine to name but a few.

At the centre they needed to build a picture of Evan and the reasons behind his behaviour.

On his first introduction visit I was able to stay, they got out the train set and Evan was in his element.

The following week he skipped in and ran to where he assumed the tain set would be.

It was not out. It was locked in a cupboard.

There were lots of lovelly toys out in various parts of the room. Cars on a mat,building blocks, a toy kitchen, dressing up clothes..

Evan  simply sat by the cupboard where he knew that train set was and refused to move.

They made him take his shoes and socks off  to make paint footprints.

The next week he kicked the windscreen all the way to Carlisle (35 miles) once he realised where he was going.

They had to come and get him from the car.

At the time I found it hard to understand why they were purposely upsetting him.

Of course, it is not “normal” for a child to refuse to remove their socks and become inconsolable. Also one would expect a child that was disappointed not to see the train set out,to be easily distracted by the other toys and soon forget about it.

It was of course all part of the assessment process.

At the end of the day when I arrived to collect him I was shown to the family room.

There were two other children being assessed at the same time as Ev  a boy and a girl so their parents were also there.

We hardly spoke,even though we were sharing the same emotionally exhausting journey week in week out together in that tiny room.

The nurse would come in and put the light out so we could watch the children through the 2 way mirror.

She would then run us through what they had done and any relevant achievements.

It is pretty grim when a room full of people applaud you because your child put his coat on a peg when shown.

One of the woman,mum to the little girl,never spoke to anyone in all those weeks other than one sentence, words I shall never forget.

” She is deaf, once we get her a hearing aid she will be fine.” She said it more to herself than to any of us.










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