In 2005 I gave birth to the most beautiful little boy. At the time, I had no idea what this bundle of joy was going to be bringing into my life. Here is my attempt at shortening a terribly long story. I have a hard time getting everything out about this subject as it is so please bare with me. After Haidyns 18 month vaccinations he had a severe reaction. I was 18 at the time and pretty much believed whatever a doctor told me, good as gold, right? Anyway, long story short in a matter of days I watched him change from a completely normal child into someone I didnt even recognize. He was doing things he had never done before, things like banging his head on a wall or the floor when he would throw a massive fit, lining toys in rows and rows, flapping around, just all kinds of weird behavior. It eventually got much much worse. His fits were physically endangering my daughter after she was born and myself. I recieved several bloody noses and bruises just from trying to stop him from hurting anyone during these things I later learned were “meltdowns”. At first, I was in serious denial. I didnt want to believe that anything was wrong with my precious little boy, my first born. One day, reality hit me when the principal at his school where he was in preschool classes called to inform me that during a rage he headbutted a little girl in the face and she had to go to the hospital. I was shocked, to say the absolute least. I finally said “Ok, obviously something is wrong. He isnt just hurting me and his sister, its branching out to others as well.” Thats when I went on a hunt for a doctor who could tell me what was going on. We then saw many different doctors who all had their input, of course. He was misdiagnosed several times. I finally found a child psychiatrist who actually knew what he was talking about. When the words Autism Spectrum Disorder came out of his mouth I thought “But Haidyn speaks and has eye contact. That couldnt possibly be him.” I had no idea that there was more to Autism. I was severely misinformed, just as most of the world is. Then the doctor started discussing Aspergers with me and the more he talked, the more I cried as I realized that I finally had a true diagnosis, the right one. Haidyn hit every mark on the head as the doctor listed the usual symptoms. This was hard to swallow.
To this day I find myself struggling to deal. One thing that I know for sure is the more I learn, the more I research I do, and the more I take in about ASD, Autism, Special Needs Children, and the like, the more I feel empowered. I just wish that the world could have the knowledge that I have about Autism Specturm Disorder. It would make the lives of ASD kids so much easier. For one, a regular trip out in public would be a lot easier without all the judgment they get from everyday people who just do not understand. Thats my first step in this new adventure that I want to take on: Educate. I want to spread the knowledge that I have gained from others, my son, my personal experience, and anything else that I feel will help others understand Autism a little better.
When I was pregnant with Haidyn I attended the community college back home for a degree in Early Childhood Ed. Well, 3 kids later, I still have not completed that degree. I think now is the time. My goal is to start with a 2 year degree in Early Childhood Ed. with an endorsement in working with special needs kids. I am going to start inhome training in about a week and a half with an amazing lady who I spoke with today about my new goals. She is going to be an amazing resource for me. With her help and her very own resources I will be able to embark on this whole new journey. She is also going to help me get started with adding members to a local support group that I intend to create. I know what its like to be a parent of an ASD kid and feel like no one understands, like you are completely alone. I KNOW that there are other moms and dads right here in Ft Hood who feel the same way. I want to start a support group where we can help each other, lean on each other, and cry if we have to. I want to create something special in this support group. And when we PCS (because it is the military after all) I want to turn it over into capable hands and then start another group at the new duty station. I am going to make a mark on this world we live in. Im going to make a difference. Im done wishing and dreaming that things were different. This is going to be a process and wont happen overnight, this I understand. It will take baby steps, but I will accomplish this. I want my son to be proud. I am doing this for him and for all kids on the Autism Spectrum. Stay tuned! You wont want to miss a thing! =)
Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Gandhi