Alex was anxious to get back to Philadelphia. He never liked being in unfamiliar surroundings, and he hated crowded places. He always felt on edge.
Alex Nelson and the rest of his class were on a field trip to New York City. They had already visited the Empire State Building, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and the New York Stock Exchange. The last stop on their trip was Grand Central Station. As the students walked through the train station, something came over Alex. He stopped in the middle of the station and began screaming. People slowly began backing away from him. Alex’s screams turned into cries, and by the time his social studies teacher found him, he was curled up in a fetal position in a corner, sucking his thumb. When Mr. Ross tried to talk to him, Alex became very agitated.
Mr. Ross finally calmed Alex down enough to guide him back to the bus, where the rest of the class and other chaperones were waiting. Mr. Ross sat next to Alex all the way back to Philadelphia. He tried to get Alex to talk, but he remained silent the entire trip. When they arrived back at the school, Mr. Ross escorted Alex to the office, where the principal called Mr. and Mrs. Nelson. The principal and the school nurse urged Mr. and Mrs. Nelson to have their son examined by their family doctor as soon as possible.
Early that evening, Alex’s pediatrician, Dr. Hudson examined Alex and after finding nothing physically wrong with him, he recommended they take him to see a child psychologist. He referred them to a colleague of his; Dr. Diane Cooper. He called her and set up an appointment for Alex, first thing the next morning. Dr. Cooper told Mr. and Mrs. Nelson to go to the emergency room, if Alex’s condition got worse.
That night, Mrs. Nelson sat by her son’s bed until he fell asleep. The next morning, when Mrs. Nelson went to check on Alex, she saw that his bed was empty and she became frantic. She and her husband searched the entire house, and they finally found him curled up in a ball in the corner of his bedroom closet.