He was born by emergency c-section at 33 weeks 6 days gestation. Daniel and his twin brother had no apparent health problems and were kept in the special care baby unit until they learnt to suck.
Daniel gained weight well, and there were no concerns about him at all until he had his six week hearing test when they detected a bit of glue ear which they decided to monitor rather than treat at the current time. He was crawling pretty early on, roughly around 6 months old, and sitting up unaided by 7 months old. He was a late walker - he couldn't walk unaided until he was 16 months old, but I put this down to laziness plus the premature factor. He was a happy baby and seemed contented enough really.
I had no concerns regarding Daniel other than his speech but I put this down to being a twin and him copying his twin brother who had limited speech, and Daniel was just copying. Then at his 3 year developmental check the health visitor had huge concerns regarding his development and said she would refer him to see a paediatrician.
I wasn't too worried as I thought she had just got him on a bad day and I knew some of the things he hadn't done for her he could do as I had seen him do them at home. Whilst waiting for the appointment with the paediatrician to come through Daniel started nursery at the older children's school - he seemed excited and happy about starting and he had been in the school daily to mums and tots groups, play gym etc plus other activities that took place at the school for toddlers, so I wasn't worried about him starting at all and really thought he would settle in nicely.
Within the first week the nursery teacher pulled me aside and said she had huge concerns about Daniel already. She was concerned about the fact he wasn't communicating but was making strange noises if an adult tried to talk to him and that he wasn't interacting or doing puzzles etc that were there by himself. She knew he was waiting for the paediatrician appointment so we agreed she could get speech therapy involved while I chased the paediatrician appointment and requested a Griffiths developmental test for him. I had also noticed a drastic change in his behaviour and that he had started refusing to speak to anyone but myself and his siblings and if anybody else tried to talk to him he would either hide or make strange noises.
A hearing test was arranged for him and it was discovered he had glue ear, which they decided to monitor for a while before deciding whether to treat it. School by now were majorly concerned, no matter what they tried he wouldn't give eye contact or communicate with them or his peers. Daniel's paediatrician appointment came and it was agreed he would be given a Griffiths developmental assessment. They rushed the appointment through for it and he scored age 2 years 6 months. I was devastated as I didn't agree due to knowing what Daniel is exactly capable of, but because he would not communicate or show it to school or the paediatrician nothing could be done about it.
Shortly afterwards another hearing test showed up his glue ear was worse and his hearing levels had dropped so it was decided to fit a temporary hearing aid to see if it helped any with his problems at school and his behaviour, and would help clear the glue ear up. Sadly it made no difference but it did clear up his glue ear which was a great bonus.
Daniel entered reception class in September 2008 having made no progress at all during his year at nursery. He hadn't communicated and had only made noises which the teachers began to understand. They were greatly concerned about him but he was a totally different child at home, a very loud, defiant, hyperactive child who loved singing nursery rhymes he had heard at school and was starting to learn to count, and knew all his colours, goals the school had said he couldn't do but I knew different as I saw him do them daily at home.
When he entered reception he was on school action plus and there was a lot of concern and lots of different professionals involved with him. He had a speech therapist assessment who reported back that Daniel had complex needs and problems. I queried elective mutism - she dismissed it, her reason being that once she sat back in the room out of mine and Daniel's personal space and he talked to me no problem, and because he did this it meant he was selective talking. I still do not agree with this and am chasing up a second opinion.
There have been many review meetings about Daniel and we are fighting to get him a statement. He is confusing the professionals involved but he is making very small steps of progress – he no longer makes noises unless he is distressed about something. He will communicate with his teacher, teaching assistant, sen worker and an outside sen worker who visits him twice weekly, but he will only do this on a total one to one basis and only if he feels like it. If he doesn't feel like talking he goes blank in the face, won't give eye contact and totally ignores what is being said to him.
He recently had another Griffiths assessment and he scored aged 3 years. He communicated great with the paediatrician and made me very, very proud. I have had to stand up to a lot of professionals regarding Daniel, including the educational psychologist who said Daniel didn't meet the criteria for a statement due to the fact he had made very small steps. I stood up and told her about his defiant behaviour at home, the fact he puts himself and others in danger knowing full well what he is doing when he can't get his own way and how he is controlling things by his refusal to communicate. I told her I would take it further if she just closed Daniel's case without reviewing it first. I think I shocked her or scared her, but I was 100% supported during this meeting by Daniels senco who agreed with everything I said.
The educational psychologist listened - she agreed to another review meeting a month later and in that month I pushed for all the appointments and assessments Daniel was due to have by outside agencies to be done and results to be given. It helped - by the time the next review meeting happened we had enough evidence to present to her to get her to agree to an assessment of a statement. RESULT!!
These assessments are being done at this current time and the senco is waiting for the final paperwork to be processed for the statement application to be presented with all the evidence. It has taken 18 long months so far, lots of stress and tears and still no reasons or answers why Daniel is how he is, but I am slowly getting there and will find out one day if I am right about selective mutism and if he has defiant behaviour disorder.