Flashback to the early 60s

Flashback to the early 60s. My first school was observant enough to recommend I was taken to see someone albeit it was thought it might be what is now called cerebral palsy. Autism was a narrow diagnosis . NVLD unheard of. Dyspraxia ,or whatever it was called then , far less well known. With the initial suspicions dismissed other avenues were not considered to be explored . There was not the knowledge on such matters that there is nowadays. Fast forward to the late 60s to Mid 70s and in school correspondence I acquired I’m described as poorly coordinated ,bad at drawing and writing,messy and disorganised. There’s already a pattern long before of difficulty interacting with others . Again there are dots ready to be joined together but not the professional will and knowledge to do so.

Mid 70s the long period of psychiatric care begins. As is typical of psychiatry a finely detailed assessment of background is not done , and things not looked at from a whole person perspective. All the signs ready to be picked up on are overlooked. Indeed what should have prompted more intelligent people to consider what was going on (a reaction to being told I was being sent to make doll’s houses which I freaked out at because I have no manual constructional skills ) was instead scathingly dismissed by a less than empathetic and non too bright psychiatrist as my being “an awkward and troublesome teenager”.

Opportunity to help lost. A myopic and far from intelligent pattern of everything being related to the psychiatric diagnosis I had being the order of the day instead for the next 40+ years , and the thought of looking beyond that very much dismissed.

So many years ,so many signs, so much that was overlooked.

Without the support of a good partner then wife for over 20 years and now a good stepdaughter and granddaughters I would have been in a very bad place. Not that the psychiatric profession who have always tended to be rather callous ever cared much.

  • Yes I had a bad time at school in the 1960s and early 1970s.  I left school in 1973 aged sixteen but found college better.  I went to main stream schools as my Mother did not think I was Autistic and refused to send me to an Autistic School which a Psychiatrist wanted to send me to one when I was aged nine.  I am pleased I did not go to an Autistic School but had a bad time in some of the private schools I went to.  At one of them the teachers made a fuss every time I got helped with homework and we got slippered  for getting sums wrong.  I am pleased teaching methods have improved in the forty-five years since I left school forty-five years ago.