A lot of my earlier years were spent taking tests. It was my nursery that actually spoke to my Mum about me and how I acted. I guess I just showed traits that the teacher noticed.

I was and I still am an insular person. As a child, I did not go out much. I still don't go out much, and I am quite anti-social by my own admission. I am a very open and talkative person, don't get me wrong, but I just cannot bring myself to going out and meeting friends. Or it least I make it a task to do so.

I remember the various trips I made to hospitals as passing experiences, rather than solidified memories. I went through a series of tests that the doctors and analysts gave to me. I think they marketed them to me as games rather than tests, probably to put me more at ease. The doctor's names and faces I could not remember, but I remember them talking to my Mum. I don't think my Dad ever went to any of those meetings. 

The standout memory from those earlier years was the blood test. I was about five years old, and I had taken the morning out of school. We went to Whiston Hospital, which at the time was a scattered series of brick buildings, rather than the giant brick/metal giant that presides over the city. I clearly remember them putting cream on my arm where they would put the needle. It made that part of my arm untouchable. It was a strange experience. I also remember crying when it was about to happen, as I was scared of the needle. They may have shown me a picture book of it, but I was nonetheless scared. They distracted me with soap bubbles, and I turned away to see a pipe going from my arm to a tube. I was mesmerised. I didn't cry, but words couldn't describe how I felt when I saw the dark red liquid drained from my arm.

The other (sort of) clear memory I recall was my trips to therapy. I was what my teachers would consider a 'delayed child' in my speech, movement, and other areas. I had to go to speech therapy, physical therapy, and other places to sort myself out. I do remember finishing school early on Thursdays to do these things. That made me happy, though I was actually quite happy in school.

I came out well from it all eventually. I cannot comment on whether the therapy worked. I think it caught me up to my peers at the time, but I don't know how delayed I was. If you consider taking your child to therapy, I would recommend it as a little way of helping them. As for the blood test, I found out years later it was to find out if I had some form of a disease that made me behave the way I did at the time. I was a slightly naughty boy. The test was negative though, which ruled that disease out, though I do not know what it was.

Regardless, I was diagnosed with dyspraxia at the age of 5. It affects my coordination. To this day, tieing my ties and fastening my shoelaces I struggle with, but at least I can do it. I can still come across as clumsy or aloof though. This can be mildly annoying. If I were to give advice about children's development, give them time and help them out. A bit of patience and time to help them will get them there.

Published by Ben Attwood