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Life with an Autistic Child

Cameron (9, boy) has always been a child who captivated me. His wonder, appreciation for the little things, needing a consistent rhythm, intelligence, etc... I've always looked at him in awe, because my husband and I created this beautiful human being.


His skin color is a beautiful light brown, his hair is a coppery brown, and he has the most beautiful freckles. As a baby, he met all developmental milestones, slept phenomenally, and was very well-behaved.


Then, when he was two and three, we started hearing from friends, church, and daycare, that he was misbehaving. I mean REALLY misbehaving: trying to push over bookshelves, climbing on desks, chairs, running away from teachers, pulling at his clothes, and biting himself. I would leave work often (around 3x/week) and drive 45 minutes one way to go pick him up from school, and this lasted about 6 months.


Phew.


He was our only child at the time, so we didn't really have any other obligations, but it didn't make it any easier. We started him in play therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy (which he didn't end up needing), and getting him evaluated by Child Find.


And, he passed everything with flying colors. They said, "He probably just has sensory processing disorder." "This too shall pass." "He'll grow out of this."


"Then what's 'wrong' with my child?"

"He can't be acting out like this for no reason."

"Is it me?"

"Why is he acting the way he is, and why isn't it consistent at home?"


I had SO many questions.


Fast forward to 6 years old, first grade, and really didn't make a ton of progress forward, because we found out that 1-on-1 wasn't the issue. It was his behavior in groups, even small groups.


His teacher - and I'll never forget this - advocated for Cameron so much so, that she said, "I don't care if it's on a Saturday, I will come to the doctor's appointment with you to explain what I notice in class. Chelsea, I love Cameron and I want him to succeed, and we need to get him help."


From someone who has done this for years, I listened to her. I don't think it really clicked with me that he really needed evaluation until she said that to me.


We found out he has ADHD. We tried every type of therapy and diet modification for extended periods of time with very little success, so reluctantly, we put him on medicine.


WHAT. A. DIFFERENCE.


I had no idea that his behavior wasn't normal. After all, he was our only child, and I had no comparison.


This, again, was temporarily-lived. We have had years of trying to figure out the right dosage, the right medicine, boosters (or not), redirection, discipline, etc...


February, I found out that he is also on the spectrum. We scheduled a full evaluation (8 months away for scheduling - sheesh). So, in October of 2022 we finally got him evaluated and found out he is also autistic.

So many of the behaviors we had questions about suddenly made sense. Cameron is like a big puzzle with all these pieces that were finally coming together - and they still are.


While it's not easy raising an autistic child, it's a beautiful image of how God made us differently. He is a constant reminder to me to be appreciative of our differences.

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