Jane - Interview 27
Age at Interview:
Jane, a Senior Lecturer (Neonatal and Child) Nursing, lives with her son aged 14 and daughter aged 9. Ethnic background/nationality: White British.
Brief outline:Jane’s son, John, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was 9 years old. He is at a mainstream secondary school and hopes to study augmentation, artificial limbs and electronics at university.
More about me...
My son John has classic Asperger's and he was born at 36 weeks gestation. I think the first time I knew that he was different was when I looked at him and looked at his body position in the basin on the overhead heater when he was born and I knew immediately that I was in tune with him because he looked cold. Now I am a neonatal nurse and I was being nursed by my colleagues, so I had a huge advantage in the sense that not only was he not behaving like a normal 36 week gestation for this small age, but his behaviour was a bit different as well. So that was my first recollection of his difference.
The second profound recollection was when he was eight weeks old and a health visitor friend of mine came to visit me and him and I was aware that no matter how hard I worked with him, he didn’t want to smile back. And she worked for about two hours and finally we got him to give a glimmer of a smile. And I remember thinking at the time this is really strange, and also having a lot of experience with babies, I also noticed that he really needed some kind of sensory attention every two hours. So he needed, not necessarily to feed on me, but to nuzzle and to nestle and that was strange and the most bizarre things would startle him, much more so than I was familiar with.
So the practical aspects of having a baby were not a problem to me, neither was the prematurity because I am trained to deal with that, but his behaviours were puzzling me and I was so in tune with him that when I would speak to the health visitor or my colleagues, they would say, “Oh Jane it is just you. You are just doing your job on him. Sit back and be a mother.” And what they forgot was that I was being a mother and it was my mothering that was trying to communicate with them and what was stopping me was my professional understanding that they had no idea what I was talking about.
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