Sandra (mother of 2 children with autism): We first realised that there might be something wrong with Kingsley when I was observing in my mother’s group. Initially I wasn’t worried, I just thought he was just a bit more quiet and less outgoing. But after a while, probably a year, I noticed that he wasn’t really meeting the same milestones as the other children were meeting. And to be honest with you, I didn’t even know what the development milestones were and when they were supposed to occur.
David (father of 2 children with autism): Kingsley was developing and showing some milestones that are what you call typical up to about 12 months. Maybe six months later, he started to lose the ability to do some of those things.
Jerry (mother of 2 children, 1 with autism): He start to speak some word when he was one and a half, and he start walking when he was one. So he does quite well like other children. Then when he was three he didn’t speak at all, so we worry about him.
Barbara (grandmother of 2 children with autism): First we actually thought Bailey was deaf because we would call his name and he wouldn’t look at you, he wouldn’t even let on.
Korrine (mother of 2 children with autism): Bailey didn’t make a sound when he was born, he was like silent. He didn’t sleep for 17-18 hours after he was born. They couldn’t get him to feed, he was really alert. He didn’t want to be held, it was like put me back in my little bassinet and leave me be. I noticed that he watched a lot of movement in rooms, like a fan moving, and he would just stare at it. He would watch the television and almost not blink. He wasn’t interacting, there was a real lack of eye contact.
Tracey (mother of 2 children, 1 with autism): Maybe 10 months old he laughed for two hours like excessively. In hindsight that was probably abnormal and had something to do with… that there was already something different about him.
Carl (father of 2 children with autism): Probably around 4 months, started noticing subtle differences to other kids.
Korrine: There’s a problem here with his sleeping, a problem with his feeding, the rest of the time he was a happy baby. Leave him alone and he was happy. So you kind of juggle with that, is there something wrong or is it just me?
Elena (mother of 3 children, 2 with autism): Alex was a late talker, and we thought that just because he was a boy and everyone talks at different ages. I actually was quite casual about it and at preschool they actually suggested I get a hearing test for Alex, because he didn’t seem to notice when they called his name and everything. When I took Jack to one of his appointments to the early childhood nurse, she seemed a little bit more interested in Alex and the fact that he wasn’t talking because he was two and a half. She actually suggested that we make an appointment to go and get him assessed.
Alison (mother of 3 children, 1 with autism): He didn’t have the typical signs, he didn’t have the flapping, walking on his tippie toes or anything like that. He just was quiet. Flynn had lots of ear infections, had glue ear, had two sets of grommets by the time he was three and a half. We put his non-speaking, his lack of communication down to constantly having glue ear.
Elena: The early education centre was having an information meeting about autism. Half way through it, I was kind of slinking in my seat thinking hang on, he does this and he does that. Okay he didn’t do all of the things that they mentioned with autism. But he certainly did enough of them for me to be worried.
Laudie (mother of 3 children, 1 with autism): He had three other cousins around the same age. He’d be sitting with his cousins, a group of little two-year-olds and they’d be playing with these certain toys together and Jonathon would crawl away, not wanting anything to do with these other kids. My sister-in-law actually approached me with a book because she was a little bit concerned with how Jonathon was developing and I was looking through the pages and I thought, yes, this is very close to home. It was like a checklist and it was all starting to become very realistic.