Trying to leave the house with young children can prove difficult for most parents, but for Moira Cameron it can be a huge challenge.
At just three years old, her son Aden Black has been diagnosed as autistic — meaning he needs a very specific routine when leaving the comfort of his own home.
Aden can become upset if things don’t go to his plan. He has to turn right when he goes out the front door — even if that means taking a longer route somewhere — and finds certain social situations difficult to deal with.
On top of that, the youngster is growing at an abnormal rate and constantly eats — meaning he’s wearing clothes meant for much older kids.
Now, Moira is seeking answers over what causes the issues Aden faces — and wants to highlight how hard life can be for parents with children like him.
The 33-year-old said Aden’s autistic tendencies were clear from an early stage in his life.
“I realised he would never make eye contact and he made no effort to talk,” she said.
“Just before his first birthday, I contacted my health visitor and she suggested that he might be on the autistic spectrum.
“Finally in November last year autism was diagnosed. However, I don’t yet know to what level he has the condition.
“He can become very stressed in certain situations, particularly when we leave the house, and I don’t yet know what all the triggers can be.
“For example when we leave the house he refuses to turn left, we always have to go to the right.
“I think this is because he has routines that he needs to stick to otherwise he can become very upset.”
Moira is still awaiting a full diagnosis for Aden’s eating habits and abnormal growth. She continued: “He is already wearing clothes for a seven to eight-year-old and even they are getting tight now.
“His waist measures 80cm, the top of his thigh is 40cm and he weighs 23kg, which is very heavy for his age.
“Aden also doesn’t know when to stop eating, he never feels full and now that he is older I have had to lock the cupboard doors to stop him going for food for himself.
“We have had blood tests taken because it’s been suggested that it could be genetic, but I am still waiting for a definite diagnosis.”
Moira, who lives in Hilltown and is a single parent, says that although she has never known life to be any different, she still finds it challenging — and believes many other parents in Dundee will have gone through similar experiences to her. However, Moira said that her son had found a happy place in Frances Wright Nursery.
“He just loves it there,” she said.
“Aden is a very clever little boy and is able to do puzzles aimed at seven-year-olds on his tablet.
“I want to ensure he gets all the help he needs to develop.
“Life just now can be challenging. I had to give up my course in horticulture at college to care for Aden. But I still do volunteer gardening when he is at nursery.
“He also sleeps very little and last week was up for 17 hours one day.
“I often survive on energy drinks just to stay awake and I can often feel isolated.”
Moira said Aden is due for a full review in February and she is hopeful that will lead to more answers.
She said: “I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a better idea of what the future holds for Aden.”