Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meet Caleb

Come a little closer everyone I would like to introduce you to a very special little boy. Ladies and gentlemen meet Caleb.

This beautiful little boy is my son and one of the great loves of my life. He's cute isn't he? I think so but then again I am his mommy so I am more than a little biased.

Caleb was born June 1st 2007 at 1532 at just over 36 weeks. He weighed 8 pounds 5 oz and took my heart by storm the second he opened his beautiful eyes and looked at me.

 His birth was by no means easy. After 26 hours of hard labor, my condition was deteriorating and I was still no where near ready to welcome him into the world. My blood pressure was dangerously high and no medication they were giving me was working. I was terrified. Here I was 19 years old a state away from my family. By the time it was over I became that horror story you see on television who yelps and cusses and threatens bodily injury. After threatening everyone on the maternity floor at least three times to either get him out or give me a scalpel and I would, my mother finally arrived.  Sixteen long hours later Caleb Aaron was born via emergency c-section.

Five days later my bubbie was placed in my arms and I fed him for the first time.

His first months were riddled with a million and one doctors appointments but they eventually leveled out and our lives settled into normalcy. I settled into my roll as a mom and two years one week and one day later his brother Andrew was born.

When he was about 15 months old I started noticing things. They raised red flags but I forged on. Months 15-18 passed in a blur and then he pulled up and took his first steps. Afterward other behaviors started becoming known.

From there he started insisting that he sleep under his bed and not in it. He wouldn't go anywhere without his lucky wash rag and teddy bear. In addition to those two traits, he began to hit himself and cry at what seemed like random intervals. I chalked it up to him going into his terrible twos.

Time passed and we moved duty stations from Virginia to North Carolina. I blinked and my sweet baby was 4 years old and ready to start school. He had developed more symptoms and something just didn't settle right with me concerning his behavior and where he should be on the precpice of starting kindergarten.

As it got closer and closer to time to getting him registered my panic and anxiety grew. I was worried about how he would adapt in a classroom full of other children his age. I set down my foot after two years of fruitless concerns and finally got a referral to a local psychologist who works with children with psychological and behavioral problems and disabilities. All along I had suspected something along the lines of ADHD. Imagine my suprise when she told me that she believed the ADHD was a sympton of the core problem and not the problem itself. What she told me next started our course through the next adventure in our lives.

The past three weeks have been a jumble of information and blind adjustments. We are learning more about Caleb's specific needs and have started documenting behaviors and triggers. We have been extremely lucky so far as we have had an amazing support system. We have already been linked up with a few organizations and have gotten a lot of super information.

We have also been unfortunate in the sense that people's general prejudice and absent minded assumptions have already started leaking in. I shouldn't be suprised  after what happened with my husband and his diagnoses but I was just sickened. To take things out on a grown man is one thing but to allow your prejudices to touch the life of an innocent child is a completely different other.

In his own little way though, Caleb straightened it all out. We have been trying our best to educate ourselves and both sons about Autism. During one such conversation he looked at me with those big brown eyes of his and asked me what it was. I explained the best way I could and afterwards his face broke out in this beautiful smile and he said to me.

"Wow mommy, I'm so cool."

Everything else evaporated then. I knew that I would do anything and everything to not only help him understand, grow, and thrive, but I would also make education on the disability a priority.

So in addition to sharing Caleb's story and our familys journey I will also start sharing one bit of information each post. To those who are taking this ride with us I have to say this. Autism is different in every child it affects. Whether it be their weaknesses or their strengths, no two cases are alike. If you have concerns about your childs behavior  and autism ask his or her doctor because only they can diagnose it.

My piece of information for today.

Autism is NOT contagious. You cannot catch it by touching, smelling, or tasting or even being around a child or adult with the disorder.

All in all my Caleb is already surpassing everyone's expectations. I am so proud of that little boy.

Until next time I challenge you to do this, learn at least one thing about Autism.

-One very proud mommy