Our son was 12 months old when he began to punch himself in the head whenever we would be out and someone would kindly approach just to give a smiling hello to a beautiful boy. They were as shocked as my husband and I were and would often apologize wondering what they could have done wrong. We would offer kindness and assure them it wasn't their fault, but would be left wondering what was done wrong also. He began to also do the same when family would come by. Same punches to the same side of head with the same fist, followed by throwing his body to the ground. At 16 months old he was given an autistic evaluation. Being rather young, we were told he was not on the spectrum, and that all signs would fade. At 19 months old, nothing had faded, but rather worsened. After viewing his videos via YouTube of self injury, throwing his body down, etc, a neuropsychologist contacted us and told us to bring him in the very next day. A second evaluation was done, and a diagnosis of Autism was given. We still don't know what to do with the news. To this day Kaedon sees 3 therapists a week alongside attending ABA school part time.
We have awakened many nights to find our son punching himself in the head and banging his head on the wall. He will bite himself, and self pinch at times. He doesn't have much speech at all, but relies on a few signs that have helped tremendously. He signs "help, more, please, milk, drink, all done, thank you, and dog". He does "more, help, and all done" on his own; the rest with assistance. He is fascinated with buses, so every moving vehicle is a "bu". His world just lights up during the morning and afternoon when it's time for the school buses to arrive, and he stands there at the window, faithfully every day. His tempers can be a bit much at times. We think the lack of speech greatly impacts him. He will often just start throwing things around the house. We were offered risperidone after neurologists witnessed what he does, but all decided to attempt ABA therapy first. Kaedon was the youngest to whom they had offered it to, however, although we decided to wait, the dose offered was a "very" tiny amount. I often wonder how someone so tiny and precious can have so much rage, and if the medicine will eventually indeed be needed. He has a routine every night. There is a fathead poster of Reggie Wayne on my older sons bedroom wall. We always tell Kaedon "look son, he wears a safety helmet just like you to be safe". And every night he "must" see his helmet friend. It's the most beautiful sight to see. Sometimes we're afraid of not knowing what to expect in the future. Or not knowing why he wakes up punching himself. He's had both EEG and MRI done. So the doctors have said that the episodes are strictly autism related. Kaedon's ABA school has been nothing but amazing, they led us to the helping hands of FAR, and the services that are provided, are nothing short of a blessing.
An early intervention program has been seeing our son since the age of 14 months and have also been a beautiful factor. Self injury itself isn't really discussed via the autism spectrum, let alone in younger children. My son has hit his mouth so much he has made himself bleed on several occasions. I can only pray that because of his early intervention services received alongside ABA, he will reach a height of a positive outcome. But to the many parents who not only face the spectrum, but the self injury side as well, we say to them, you are not alone. Kaedon delivers a smile that can melt a soul. And through therapy his eye contact and name responding has increased dramatically. He will laugh as any toddler will, and will have his kid friendly goofy moments just the same; but the same bright smiling toddler will wake up at 2am and stay up until 7:20am, only to close his eyes for 30 minutes, and stay up until 4pm, hitting himself and refusing to rest. So when it's rough, it's rough.
And sometimes we feel so alone. -Sometimes we feel so alone. Sometimes we feel so alone....We are so grateful for all the help via autism support that we have received. It has been our needed peace, and our link to understanding his beautiful side of the world. can't even begin to explain what FAR offers my family. The worst feeling in the world is knowing your child needs services that you just can't afford. The first day I was informed of the costs for ABA school, that my son was in need of, I cried uncontrollably. The gut wrenching feeling of simply not having what I needed to have was overwhelming. Kaedon's ABA school informed me of FAR and placed all worries aside. I have given my gratitude to FAR a million times, but I know they'll never understand the depth of it. I find it amazing that places like this exist. The peace of mind offered is unmatched to any other find. Thank you for hearing our story.