One of the first things that concerned me about Dylan was the fact that he didn’t respond to his name. Now, the normal age for children to start to respond to their name is seven months old, at this age I didn’t really have any concerns, minus him laughing and smiling late but it came in time so I just thought that it was me having high expectations after Amellia being a pretty advanced little one! Though whenever he started walking, running and all those fun things that occur once they are moving and he was still not responding to his name I started to get pretty anxious about why this was. He also had no response to simple requests or questions that children would usually love to respond to, like showing you what they are playing with, or asking them to bring you something to see.
First of all, I questioned his hearing, but he would turn to certain things like the door opening, dropping of coins and many other things, but his name was something he just didn’t recognise or respond to at all.
Along with this he also tip toe walked everywhere and even when he was in shoes. At the start, I thought that he was just getting used to walking, but as time progressed and he was always walking on his tip toes and would even go over onto the fronts of his toes when stood still I really started to worry. This coupled with his lack of response to his name started the cogs in my burn turning a little faster on the panic front.
When we were transitioning from baby food onto finger foods he had a really strong dislike to everything that wasn’t pure mush like his baby food. He was on 6 months+ baby food until he was about one and a half, he just wouldn’t take anything at all with lumps in it and if he discovered a lump he would just spit it out and refuse to eat anymore. We tried really hard to encourage him to eat the lumpier food, but he then stopped eating it at all and just wouldn’t eat and obviously this is not good for anyone. He had started to eat crisps and digestive biscuits (still his favourite snack!) so I wasn’t concerned about the muscles in his mouth or throat because this was a worry when he wouldn’t eat lumps because we thought maybe he just struggled to chew them up or swallow them, but we quickly learnt from his select few snacks he ate that he could chew and swallow solider things ok. This then became a worry as it was obviously sensory related, so this was another red flag that had went up in my head.
He also had a huge dislike to any sort of feelings on his feet, he wouldn’t walk on the grass or sand and got very distraught by this. That was another thing, whenever he got upset, it wasn’t a ‘normal’ tantrum or upset. It would take a very long time for him to be able to calm down and he would head bang, and many other things to harm himself. Along with stimming whenever things were getting too much for him.
When he was younger he used to babble a bit, and then one day, he just stopped. Nothing. No babbling and he has always had little to no eye contact. Whenever this happened and everyone was still telling me that I was being silly, and that he would do these things in time I decided that I would go with the strong gut feeling that I had I would contact my health visitor.
I was hoping that she would tell me that I was being silly, but I knew in my heart and head that this would be not be the case. She came over the next day and asked me what my concerns were, whenever I told her she asked had I been using google (who doesn’t nowadays!) and I said yes, I had, so she nodded and then watched Dylan. After about fifteen minutes she looked at me and said that she was hoping she would come here and tell me that she would be back in three months and that she was sure he would have caught up to his peers by then but unfortunately this wasn’t the case with Dylan. She told me that I was right to contact her and she started to fill out a form, she wanted to get his referral to the children’s hospital done as soon as possible so that we could get him the help he needed.. and so started the whole process of waiting for appointments, worrying and overthinking every single thing.