Due to a genetic condition I was brought up in and around hospitals. After many inpatient stays and outpatient appointments, I came to always trust health care professionals; these people had become my second family. When I had my son, I dutifully took him for all his vaccinations and check ups at the standard 3, 6 and 12 month intervals, but it was only at his 24 month assessment that our health visitor mentioned that there may be a possibility that my little man had ADHD. Although this was hard to hear at the time, my son was going through the terrible twos and was a little ball of energy so it was something that I myself had already considered.
After that initial concern at 24 months, my son was then seen every 3 months to keep an eye on his progress. He was quite advanced for his age, although some of his motor skills needed improving but there was nothing that could not be tackled. As my son was quite advanced in his number and memory skills, something that he had been interested in from a very young age, our health visitor asked us to consider the possibility that my son could actually be autistic. This pill was a lot harder to swallow than the first and she recommended that he be referred to see a specialist and that a SENCO worker should asses him at his nursery to see how he behaved when I was not there.
For anyone who goes through this process, let me tell you that for me it was the most draining experience of my life. The consultant was quite happy that our little man was not, as the health visitor had thought, autistic rather that he was being your typical 3 year old and then we had the SENCO report. This was the part I personally found the hardest as every part of my childs personality was broken down and analysed. The quirkiness that you see in your own child, all their little personality traits, they get ripped apart by a simple report.
Ultimately this process went on for 6 months, with the health visitor telling us that our son would probably have to go to a special school to accommodate his needs. We stood by our belief that our child was neither autistic nor an ADHD sufferer, and as he got older he began to calm down and concentrate (as much as a 4 year old can). His interest in numbers, and later the alphabet, blossomed to the point where now he attends a regular primary school and is very advanced for his age.
We believed that we knew our child better than anyone and that trust I mentioned at the beginning of this article was firmly shaken by my experience with my little man’s health visitor. Ultimately you, as a parent, know your child better than any healthcare professional so please trust in that belief.