Meet Nathan. Nathan was born in the UK and required medical care from birth. He was born with bilateral talipes (club feet) which were immediately strapped – later he wore special shoes, splints and plasters. He was difficult to feed, often vomiting his milk and needing to be fed again. In the first month of his life, Nathan needed 2 operations for hernias and a bowel resection. So it was a rough start. In his first year, Nathan failed to thrive; when he was 5 months old, formal investigations began in an attempt to discover why his development was delayed, but all the results came back normal. He continued vomiting for more than a year and had diarrhoea for 5 years. As a toddler, Nathan ate like a sparrow and would just throw his food on the floor. He was toilet trained at 5 yrs and dry at night by 8.
The provision in Scotland for Special Needs was very generous and so began a couple of years of intensive intervention with speech, physio, OT, the support of a preschool home visiting teacher, a teacher’s aide at Nursery, riding for the disabled and music therapy.
We moved to Australia when Nathan was 4. At this stage, his diagnosis was Global Developmental Delay, however he was then diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. He began Ritalin therapy and remains on this medication at present. He continued with another 8 years of speech therapy and OT. Nathan attended a mainstream primary school with a couple of hours a day teacher’s aide time; however his high schooling was completed in a Special Education Unit where we were delighted with his progress.