Emotionally, the 3-5 period was very difficult for both my wife and myself. Our son's learning disability made it very hard for us to form any kind of meaningful relationship with him, and life did not go through the usual development phases. Initially we had hoped that as his younger brother grew up he would follow too, but this didn't happen.
Although we did receive the help we needed during this period, it would have saved a lot of time and effort if the adoption society had identified learning disability and autistic spectrum disorder in the first place. The professionals who were most important to us were our GP and the consultant paediatrician, who we saw at 3 monthly intervals. The clinical psychologist also played a really important role.
It would have saved a lot of time and effort if the adoption society had identified learning disability and autistic spectrum disorder in the first place.
We received a lot of our information from a hospital in London, and contacted the necessary professionals ourselves. Subsequently we also joined Afasic, which enabled us to contact other parents in a similar position.
In terms of schooling, his first year was in our local school, although he was later transferred to a special needs school. We received information about speech therapy and some of the choices available, but we were not given a choice about where he went. We always knew we were in for a difficult time.
Despite having to organise our lives around his, we were always determined to get the best of everything for our son. I would advise other parents to fight for the best all the time, and to never give up on getting the best possible provision for your son or daughter.
It will always be a battle.
Paediatrician: a doctor who specialises in working with children who are ill or disabled.
Clinical psychologist: a professional who works to reduce psychological distress and achieve well-being in the people they work with.