His own little world

This photo says a lot about Bright eyes at about the time he was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

The fact that he is actually sitting in the frame with his brother and sister is quite amazing. For the entire year leading up to this point, it was a major issue to get him to be in a photograph with anyone else. Surprisingly, he loved smiling for the camera on his own, but when he had to be part of a group, he would yell, run away and resist fiercely.

See the way he is focused on his trains? He carried those around in his hands all day every day for months. One day we lost one of the carriages. It was a monumental disaster. He cried and cried. We ended up having to buy a whole new set just to get the same colour replacement.

Thomas the tank Engine was his whole world for about three or four months. He talked about it constantly. His first words on getting up and last words on going to bed were 'Thomas has six small wheels' or 'Gordon is number 5. Thomas is number 1. Henry is number 4'. (Correct me if I'm wrong here...)

We can't see his eyes in this photo, but typically he looked fairly glazed. He rarely looked right at people, but kind of 'through' them. I have a vivid memory of seeing him in the car, staring blankly at his trains, ignoring everyone around him. It was as though he was sinking into an abstract land, his own little world, and we'd never be able to get him out.