This child, from a young age, had been different. He had been quite unsociable in his early years, relating mainly to close family and chosen teachers in school.
He was an extremely careful child, and therefore took quite a while to walk. He would stand up, attempt a few steps, then carefully sit himself back down and crawl to his destination. With some encouragement and help, he eventually got there.
He started to speak without problems, and was taught very early to say ‘Thank you’ and ‘Please’. However, he appeared unable to distinguish between the two words. In situations when either word was required and he was asked “What do you say?”, he would reply “Thank you please”.
In many ways, he was highly intelligent. His sense of observation and direction was amazing. Once he had travelled a route in a car, he remembered how to get there. He also had a fantastic memory for numbers and events, enabling him to become very effective at arithmetic and reading skills from an early age.
He preferred playing by himself with trains and Lego. He also loved collecting cards and other little toys. He especially disliked disruptions or change. However, he developed like other children his age.
As he progressed to puberty, he displayed some behaviours which were out of character. A Special Educational Needs Coordinator at school witnessed his extreme reaction to a hair in his eye and suggested he be assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Thus began a series of assessments, none of which resulted in anything conclusive.
The assessments continued as he moved to secondary school, his parents opting for an independent school with small class sizes, to provide the support and oversight they felt he needed. He was very reluctant to attend, as he preferred his local secondary school which most of his friends from primary school were attending. He was very uncooperative and the first few years were difficult.
Whilst some of his teachers judged him harshly, he was privileged to have a couple who understood him and saw the potential in him. He realised his GCSEs were approaching and knuckled down to his work in year 10, determined to make the grades. An assessment by an educational psychologist also revealed that he was dyslexic and would benefit from extra time in written examinations. All these factors helped him to achieve the grades he required to move on to higher education.
His interest was in computer programming and he decided on a BTEC combined with an A Level in Computer Science. The BTEC appealed to him because it was assessment based. He has really excelled, with a predicted DD grade, and offers from all his University choices.
His mother reflects on the times of anxiety and anguish, but a with firm determination to push on in faith. Her realisation that he was able, and the will to find an approach which worked for him, have really paid off. The future looks bright.
Where there is a will, indeed, there is a way. The keys are love, patience and perseverance.