the beauty of a brass door knob

The Beauty of a Brass Doorknob

By Holly Sleppy

My son Evan was fascinated with round objects.

We first noticed this around age 2, as he stood in one well lit room and peered into the next dark room rocking from his front foot to his back foot.

He was watching the reflection of the light move on a brass doorknob.

I only know this because I had to get down on my knees and rock back and forth to see exactly what was so fascinating in the next room. A slim, curved slice of light rimmed the brass doorknob and moved up and down as I rocked back and forth. Cool, I thought.

He was also fascinated with the wheels of his Thomas the Tank Engine trains.

He lined up his trains on a window ledge and got as close as he could, but always cocked his head to the side to study them from an angle. He didn’t play with these trains—making choo-choo sounds as they chugged up imaginary hills. He studied them on the window ledge, moving them back and forth, eyes always locked on the wheels.

My husband and I saw this as brilliance, of course. Our 2-year-old son was detail-oriented and focused. He noticed the beauty of ordinary things, and forced us to stop, study and notice them too.

What we didn’t see, or know until a few years later, was that these were the first subtle signs of autism.

It wasn’t until Evan was 3 ½ that it was ever mentioned that there was something different, even troubling, about him. He was exhibiting “angry behaviors” at daycare, and the teachers were concerned about him and his interactions with the other students. They gently asked if we would have him evaluated by our pediatrician “just to be sure” he was okay.

This was beginning of one of the most challenging times in our lives—the years that led up to his autism diagnosis at age 5.  

Updated December 19, 2017

You may also like

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Developmental Delays

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Developmental Delays

Kids with developmental delays may show obvious signs, or they could be subtle. Learn what to look for so you can help your child with early intervention services.

Read More

Mask Up: How to Talk to Your Children About COVID-19 Safety

Wearing a mask and social distancing have become the keys to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. A Virtua Health pediatrician explains how to help your child follow the rules.

Read More
Virtua's Pediatric Early Intervention Program

Meeting the Developmental Needs of Children

A closer look into Virtua's Pediatric Early Intervention Program, which provides services to children birth to three years old with developmental delays.

Watch Video
Is Your Child Just a Picky Eater – or Could It Be Something More? - Virtua Article

Is Your Child Just a Picky Eater – or Could It Be Something More?

Many young children are picky eaters. But, some have food sensory issues that go beyond typical pickiness that can affect long-term nutrition and health.

Read More
details of diagnosing autism

Early Intervention is Crucial in Diagnosing Autism

An interview about early intervention and strong parental instincts were the triggers that helped get our son on the path to an autism diagnosis.

Read More
Overcoming Fear After an Autism Diagnosis - Virtua Blog

Overcoming Fear After an Autism Diagnosis

When our son was diagnosed with autism, we became part of a compassionate, supportive community of kids, parents, teachers and therapists that helped us cope — and thrive.

Read More
Showing 6 of 14