Today is Cam’s 16th birthday; boy does time sure fly by. I honestly can’t believe he is 16 already. The struggles we have gone through since the day he was born blue till now, are just unbelievable, we have both changed and grown so much.
No one prepares you for a child with autism, sensory processing disorder, and mild brain damage from the lack of oxygen to the brain during childbirth. They don’t prepare you for the inconsolable meltdowns, The tears, the fears and all the fighting you will need to do for the rest of your life, so your child has a life. A life worth living is a life worth fighting for.
He was a good baby; he was quiet most of the time except when I couldn’t figure out what he needed, he liked to sit and watch Bob The Builder, play with his cars and trucks for hours, lining them up, sorting by colour. I thought he was a genius that he knew how to pair them up not only by colour but by categories too.
At 3 years old, He started speech therapy, barely able to say, mamma, dada, keykey for cookie and bobbob for bob the builder, and a few other sounds. We began using PECS, but he had no interest in those. We tried getting him to point to what he wanted and he would look at us like we were from Mars.
At 4 years old, He got the diagnoses of OCD, ADHD, non-verbal autism and sensory processing disorder. That is when we started the wild ride of trial and error of medication. Being a young mom, being fully responsible for a little human with energy galore and an emotional roller-coaster, you put your trust into the professionals and lose track of your own motherly instinct.
At 5 years old, still not fully toilet trained, is when we started the fight with the school for his right to an education. At 7:00.a.m every morning before school, I would take him to the park to burn off some energy before walking him to school in hopes he’d have a better day.
At 6 years old was the worst year. A terrifying year, what his future would look like. Because of his sensory processing disorder, he could not express pain. He would come home with unexplained scratches and bruises. He is a boy so most of it got brushed off as “boy play” until one day he had fallen and hit his head on the school door metal frame. His teacher hadn’t noticed until in class, he refused to take off his winter hat in the classroom. Out of frustration, the teacher ripped his hat off his head pulling his eyebrow off along with a hat covered in blood. That’s how I knew how dangerous sensory processing disorder can be.
At 7 years old we moved to a bigger city in hopes to get him more professional help. better education and a better understanding of how to care for him. He started to have a personality, he started smiling more, even though he didn’t have much to say he was my boy and I wanted everything for him.
At 8 years old, I left his father and took him, his baby sister and nothing else back to my home town to start over. Hoping I could focus more on him instead of fighting about his diagnosis and how we parent differently.
At 9 years old children’s services became more involved, they were on and off before with no help at all. They said I couldn’t manage him without his father. That wasn’t true. By this time Cam has tried so many therapy’s, been on so many different cock-tales of medication, his aggression and behaviour at school was very difficult to manage as a result his sister was suffering. His father would not leave us and moved back in with us, which was a disaster on its own.
At 12 years old I divorced his father for good. He was finally out of our lives and we couldn’t be happier. Cam found his words and began talking and saying short two/three word sentences. We stopped going to therapies, we were on long waitlist anyway but that seemed to be for the better. We were all happier. I found my motherly instinct and used them to help my boy with our daily struggles.
At 14 years old he came home with his hair dyed green and a cooking trophy. My heart just sank. As surprised as I was to see his hair, I couldn’t help but smile that he had a chance of a somewhat normal teenage life!
Now at 16, I could not be more proud of how far he has come. He talks up a storm. Even strangers understand his words. He has his moments, but it’s huge. He has a big heart, wants too, he host a gaming YouTube channel, loves to read history and is growing up into a smart young man!
Since we are still self-isolating, we had a small party with just us. I made decorations from Pinterest posts. He loves Chinese food from restaurants, but we have stopped all take out food since the beginning of March, so we bought some frozen packaged ones and deep-fried them at home and made him a homemade ice cream cake. He was quite happy!
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