The Beginning of What Was to Come

December 04, 2013

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11thBdayI was 24 years old when I had my son, Christian, in 1999. He was such a good baby. He started First Steps when he was 2 months old. He had a lump on the side of his neck and I noticed he couldn’t turn his head. After a CAT scan and seeing an orthopedic specialist, I learned my son had torticollis, which is a short tightened muscle in the neck. He needed physical therapy to stretch that muscle and to be able to turn his head to that side. That was rough to watch and was the start of our journey into therapy -- the beginning of what was to come. My son was also very sick and was in and out of the hospital with respiratory issues, but that’s a whole other story.

At around 6 months old, Christian started having problems with his bowels. I couldn’t understand why and I really got no help, but was told to try mixing Karo syrup in his bottle. My son was not breast fed since my milk came late and he had a very hard time sucking. He had no sucking power and we had to force feed him in the hospital by moving the bottle up and down to help him. In order for him to go poop, I had to give him suppositories to help relieve his constipation, but still that only helped so much. I felt so bad, but I didn’t know what to do. I was given no direction on how to help, and I didn’t know the impact of not going poop for days.

My son never met any of his developmental milestones. He was delayed in everything and so received all the therapies that First Steps had to offer.  He started showing signs of autism between 12 and 15 months old. It was confirmed when he turned 3 years old. At that time, I really didn’t know what autism was, just knew the signs of it. It saddens me that I knew no one who had a child with autism at this time. No one ever mentioned autism was medical to me back then. No one ever mentioned the word biomed. Plus, I didn’t have access to the internet. No one expressed concerns about the vaccines. It was difficult with no outlet and truthfully, I was living in the dark.  I continued doing what I knew. I continued with vaccines and we followed the schedule they had at that time. I continued dealing with the constipation and we continued therapies.

After aging out of First Steps, we went into the school system and received therapy, but I also did outside therapy as well. Christian needed that outside therapy, especially occupational therapy, because his fine motor skills were weak and because his hands mirror each other. So, when one hand is doing something, the other hand is doing the same thing. That makes it hard to write, tie shoes, button, zip, open doors, etc.

Christian was all over the place as a kid. He could never sit still. He flipped light switches on and off a thousand times, flapped his hands, was hyper, not focused, banged his head, was self-injurious, rocked back and forth, and lined things up in a row. He was delayed in speech and really only said a couple of words here and there. He hardly any eye contact, didn’t want to be touched unless he wanted it, and was a very picky eater. I couldn’t vacuum or blow-dry my hair when he was younger. He had to go into another room and I had to put ear plugs in his ears. Certain sounds just bothered Christian, so he would cover his ears and cry if he wasn’t wearing ear plugs.