How did you know??? I get asked often how we knew… How we knew Caden was different and that we should test him. There isn’t a black and white answer, it is combination of things. I think it is much easier if you have a first child whom you can compare milestones to. My first child was a little out of the norm, walking at 9 months old and telling me every animal in the animal kingdom by 2 - The Pygmy Marmoset was his favorite.
Caden was a happy baby. He had the biggest brown eyes and a smile that could light up any room, dimples included. He was playful and interacted with his brother. There was never “ONE” RED flag that said… “we have a problem here”... but, we did see some things that made us question, and we are not the type of parents that say, “let’s just wait and see.” Caden was a water baby with no fear, he loved bouncing and would spend hours in his Johnny Jumper… laughing until he fell asleep. Johnny was his best friend. Taking him to My Gym, I remember putting him in the ball pit and he loved it. He loved it a little too much. He was a spaz in a pit. Caden would sometimes get so excited - which now I know is over stimulated, going crazy, eventually biting down on a ball. I was very aware of this behavior. If we were holding him and he got excited about something, he would try to crawl up into our necks and then give us a little “love bite” on the top of our shoulder. I couldn’t help laughing when my husband would jump and yelp startled by the bite. I knew that something was happening, but I didn’t know what. I pulled him out of My Gym.. I definitely didn’t want him to bite another child.
Very pregnant with child number 3, I tried to use any remaining brain cells left to understand what was going on with my sweet Caden. Why would he take my phone at not even 2 years of age and play games I didn’t even understand, for hours. Kind of throws you off as a mom, thinking your kid is a genius.. But knowing that is not typical of a kid his age. Why did he stand in front of the TV mezmorized, almost as if it was hypnotizing him. If you could get his attention, it was literally like you snapped your fingers and he was back.
We were living in an old original beach house at this time,while our house was under construction. The home had big glass doors that went out to a side yard and led you to the garage. We had just come home from the grocery store. I turned on Mickey Mouse for Caden to keep him occupied while I brought in the bags. I stepped down onto the outside patio and 3 feet in heard the door shut behind me. I didn’t even turn around… I began to laugh. These doors were old and they had a unique lock. Caden knew how to open the doors, he played in the yard all the time. I laughed because I knew that he was in that moment being hypnotized by the TV and if I was a circus passing by with elephants and a marching band… Caden was not going to look my direction. I was screwed. I decided to amuse myself to see if I could get his attention, knowing there was not a chance. If you didn’t know, you would think Caden was 100% deaf. I had to break into the house through a side window… I mean I had to laugh... me being an 8 month pregnant lady crawling into a window. This however is what did it for me. Caden was not deaf and I knew he had some sort of sensory issues, although I was green to what sensory processing was. I knew at that moment we needed to get help so that we could guide Caden to be the best Caden he was supposed to be. And that is exactly what we did. It has been 8 years 1 month and 9 days of every kind of therapy you can imagine. OT, ABA, CBT, speech, neurodevelopment, FNAT (Functional Neuromotor Activation Treatment), Psychological testing, and thousands and thousands of dollars. Every minute of everyday and every dollar that has depleted my bank account has been worth it. I have met the most wonderful, genuine families along this journey, and numerous therapists and specialists that have changed our lives. My life is better because of them, I am better because of them and I will be forever grateful for my journey and my son and his diagnosis.