Updated: Apr 26, 2021
This week our youngest started on his journey into diagnosis, being investigated for both ASD and ADHD. We have noted a few 'flags' with himself, loud noise aversion - even constant noise aversion (vacuuming etc) , not quite understanding the meaning or tone of things (jokes, literal phrases, facial expressions, etc), not able to focus and easily distracted (no matter the activity from school work to sports).
His teacher spoke to me in September about him talking a lot in class. He was just starting back into school at Senior Infants level. I asked if she could give him a week or so to settle in more (he had after all, like the rest of his class been out of school for 6 months) and for the 6 months, his sole 'peer' was his older brother who talked constantly pretty much.
My wife had previously spoken to the teacher requesting if she felt there were any behavioural issues that we be informed immediately. As we'd prefer to act ASAP, given the delays in actions with his brother. The teacher was very aware of our eldest son.
We heard nothing more. Anyway, the teacher uploaded the classes 'Christmas play' onto the class App. We noticed our lad was sat on his own desk and not with anyone. We asked him if this was usual or just for the play. It turned out that was his desk and the teacher was basically isolating him from the rest of the class. We couldn't believe it, he's six years old! We confronted the teacher, questioning her reasoning and behaviour. She agreed to write a letter for us requesting an assessment through our General Practitioner.
The GP agreed, after receiving the letter and two months later we met with a Child Psychologist at a Lucena Clinic. Considering the long journey our eldest had (2 years) we were expecting the same for the youngest. Imagine our surprise, when the psychologist said that he was hesitant to diagnose at such a young age but in a month or two we could have a preliminary diagnosis dependent on a few sessions between now and then.
The healthcare (Health Service Executive - HSE) provider in Dublin had a re-jig in children's services and though we hadn't moved addresses, we were now under another areas catchment. The difference was fantastic. The new clinic seems very organised, the staff extremely friendly and the environment much more relaxing.
The new clinic use computer programes - in the form a games and puzzles - to help them in their diagnosis, which speeds the whole process up.
We removed our youngest from that school to go to the same school as his brother. Now the youngest is in the main stream part of the school and class, while the eldest is in the ASD unit. My wife and I both believe that if our youngest had anything near the journey in the original school as his brother, it would not end well for his psyche. He's not as strong an individual, much more emotional. Considering he was being isolated in the class at the age of 6, shows exactly what the teachers and school thought of treating children.
He's now been at the new school for 2 weeks and is loving it. He misses some of his friends but he is being included in class activities and teaching, and again like his brother is thriving in the new environment. I have almost nothing good to say about the previous school for either of my children experiences there. I've written to the local TD's (parliamentary representatives) to advise them of the situation in that school.