“I was 24 when I married my husband, Patrick, in 1982. A year later, our first son, Lionel, was born. He was a healthy, adorable baby. But when he was about seven months old, I noticed that he’d quietened down – he had stopped gurgling and preferred to play with toys and puzzles on his own.
I had friends who’d given birth around the same time as me, and their babies – some younger than Lionel – were already babbling their first words. When I tested Lionel’s hearing by checking if he’d turn in my direction when I spoke, he always did so. I realised only later that he was using his sharp eyes and observation skills, even as a baby, to ‘hear’.