Alf was fascinated by a report in the Dom-Post today (see here) about a lad of almost five who has taken reticence to an extreme.
The lad’s name is Kyle Sell and he has never talked.
He does not know his own name and has only just moved from a cot to a bed.
And the medical profession is baffled.
More than 30 psychologists, paediatricians, dieticians and occupational therapists have been in and out of his life – but not one of them has been able to tell his mother Jenny what is wrong with him.
She and the rest of the family have moved around the country trying four different district health boards – including Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley – in an effort to find answers and support.
He could manage only “pre-talking babble”, had trouble eating and sleeping, and could not walk until he was 2 , Mrs Sell said.
Apparently things get really tough when Kyle is upset and unable to be reasoned with.
“Most of the time I don’t know what’s wrong with him, and I’m his mother.”
The lack of a proper diagnosis is the big bugbear for Kyle’s mum.
“Medically he is very well, so I am blessed. But [people] have no idea what he’s like to manage.”
Many people assumed he had autism, she said, but doctors had told her his late development was not typical of an autistic child.
At one point Mrs Sell, who is a paediatric nurse, thought his characteristics indicated the neuro-genetic disorder Angelman syndrome, but all genetic testing came back clear.
“There’s a lot of guilt there as well. As a mum you wonder, what did I do wrong?”
She is obviously worried about Kyle’s future.
People often complimented her on her blond-haired, “normal”-looking boy, but “what’s going to happen when he’s no longer cute?” she said.
The family, now based in Auckland, continue the quest to get more support and guidance for schooling options for Kyle.
Mrs Sell worries that he may never be able to cope in mainstream schooling, and does not know what his future holds once he turns 5 in July.
One thing that should cheer her up is that Kyle is unlikely to become a politician, given that politicians with no gift of the gab are unlikely to go far.
On the other hand, he might get a back-room job in the Labour Party, because it seems he is not yet toilet-trained.
Another career possibility, of course, is to join one of those orders of monks who take vows of silence.
The Trappists are always looking for a good bloke to join their monastic order.
As the video above shows, the Trappists are also looking for good choristers.
Kyle Sell’s mum need not despair.