How My Son Was Stolen -A Personal Autism Journey - Part 1

My son, Ayden, and myself.
My son, Ayden, and myself. | Source
Newborn Ayden Hospital Picture
Newborn Ayden Hospital Picture
Taken just before he got his vaccinations.
Taken just before he got his vaccinations.

How My Son Was Stolen

Ayden, the Autistic: My story

I have three children, one of whom is diagnosed with "mild" autism. Ayden, my only son and middle child, has had Autism since he was four months old. That's right, I said four months old. What is Autism you ask? For more information on Autism, how to tell if your child could possibly be Autistic, characteristics of an Autistic child, and what to do if you think your child is Autistic read my other post: Autism Explained. If you like this story visit How my Son was Stolen Part 2!

Newborn Ayden to 3 Months

Ayden was 38 weeks when he was born, all of his 6lbs. 11oz., 19 3/4 inches long, Ayden was a joy to bring home. Barely ever cried, cooed and laughed as early as 2 1/2 months, and was always happy to see me, and to hear my voice. I took him for his 2 months set of shots when he was 3mths. old and he was the "normal" baby I had born into this world. When he got his vaccinations he cried, like a "normal" baby, but something felt wrong. Ignoring my feeling of anxiousness when he got his shots, I took Ayden home. Ayden cried all the way home, and four hours after. If you have children you know that all pediatricians will tell you that there's a possibility of a fever as a "side effect" of the vaccinations. My oldest daughter never had that "side effect", but when Ayden's temperature was 100.8° Fahrenheit I didn't take him to the hospital. I just gave Ayden some Tylenol, but his temperature skyrocketed still.

It wasn't until his temperature reached 104.3° Farenheit that I rushed him to he hospital. The hospital gave him Tylenol and sent him home with a warning: if his temperature rises instead of falls, bring him back in. Ayden's temperature stayed at 104.3 for two days after I took him to the hospital, and then it decided to decline, and he was back at a normal 98.6 degrees Farenheit. He was almost four months now, and had replaced his laughter and cooing with fits of crying all day. I figured something was wrong with him, but instead of listening to my "Mommy Intuition", I chalked it up to him possibly developing Colic.

The day after the fever broke he was quiet. No cooing, no laughter, no crying, nothing but silence. Though I thought it odd, I didn't think, "Oh, he's Autistic". The very next day I discovered that along with his sounds, he had stopped looking at me when I held him, and he had also stopped smiling as well. At one point and time I had research Autism because my eldest child was banging her head, and when I looked up "head banging in babies" on Google, Autism was listed as one of the possible reasons why she had been head banging. Though it had turned out she wasn't, something kept screaming at me to look it up again... this time for Ayden.


4 Months to 9 Months

At four months old, Ayden had done a 180° in his personality and his demeanor. I did some internet searches on detecting Autism, and most of the information, about 97% of it, was for detecting Autism in toddlers. Anything I found on the subject of Autism in babies, at that time, was pretty much just debates on whether or not you could tell that young or not, and if Autism is a born disability. I found some symptoms that did fit Ayden, but others were just too early to tell. Autistic traits like: not making eye contact, limited to no physical interaction, and the lack of interest in people, toys, and animals fit Ayden perfectly. He was a Mommy’s baby, and now he wouldn’t even let me hold him. I read all I could about Autism, and how to detect it in your child, and within the first week of my research there was no doubt in my heart that it’s what plagued my little boy. My heart knew that it was Autism, but my mind was in total denial. How could I, at 20 years old, have a son that was mentally disabled? Maybe I just read his signs wrong? Maybe I was looking into this too much? Though these thoughts invaded my mind I was determined to find out for sure, and embark on the next step.

Upon researching about Autism I found several debates on whether or not vaccinations could be the cause of Autism, and I remembered back to when Ayden had his 104.3° Fahrenheit fever after his vaccinations. So, when his four months vaccinations came up, I was very skeptical about him getting them. So much so that he was five and a half months old before I took him to get his four months old vaccinations. His pediatrician, at that time, had been my pediatrician when I was growing up. I was definitely comfortable with her, and she’s been my children’s pediatrician since my eldest daughter was born. My only problem with her practice is that patients had to wait in the lobby for hours to be seen, her nurses had overbooked every time, and she would hardly ever make a personal appearance, even for ten minutes, because her nurses did mostly everything.

I waited that day, I remember, for almost four hours for Ayden and my daughter name to be called for their routine vaccinations. They checked both of my children at the same time; my request to save time. When they finished checking their vitals, weight, and height we were told the doctor would come in for a check-up. The doctor came in and checked my daughter and Ayden’s hip alignments, eyes, ears, and asked if I had any concerns. I hadn’t told her about my home diagnosis for Ayden, still in denial perhaps, but I did tell her I thought Ayden had been acting a little “off” for the past few months. I tried to describe his behavior and personality traits, hoping that the doctor would pick up on what my heart already knew, and my mind denied feverishly. She didn’t however, and just told me that boys develop slower than girls and that I should just, “give him time”.

When I left the doctor office my head agreed with the doctor, but my heart screamed at me, “What is wrong with you? You know something’s wrong!” Two very conflicting emotions were speeding through me, faith and doubt in the doctor’s words. Doubt won over as soon as I took Ayden home, and I cried in despair the whole day. Every article, news clipping, Google search, book, and website about children said to never ever compare your children’s milestones and learning capabilities. I couldn't help comparing Ayden to his big sister. Everyone I told about my unprofessional home diagnosis of Ayden agreed with the doctor’s diagnosis instead of my own, even my husband. I tried to point out that my daughter was speaking and sitting up alone by herself at six months, and that she was standing and pulling up on her own at seven months. Ayden was almost eight months old and I couldn’t even prop him up. I was alone in this thinking, I felt so discouraged and helpless. It was almost as if he had developed a man eating disease and I couldn’t get anyone to help me save him, I felt so helpless.

Though I fell into a deep depression, my heart still kept me going to try to find help for Ayden. At Ayden’s six months check-up I demanded his pediatrician to refer me to somebody for something because I knew something was wrong with Ayden. By this time Ayden had become really clingy to me, and I really didn’t mind. He was that baby that loved his mom to hold and rock him again, and after months of having your newborn cry every time you hold it, even to feed, you don’t mind the “two armed up pick me up Mommy” sign language. His doctor still insisted that I give him more time and that, although he was almost eight months and not doing any milestones, he was growing “normally”. She did, however, give me a referral for Richmond Children’s Hospital for an evaluation. Ayden was eight months when he went to RCH for his evaluation, but they could only tell me that he had low muscle tone.

Ayden on his first birthday
Ayden on his first birthday

The Breakthrough

The Breakthrough - 11 Months to First Birthday

Ayden started his first physical therapy home session when he was ten and a half months old. At eleven months old, Ayden wasn’t babbling, pulling up, trying to crawl or walk, playing with toys, or any milestone that even an eight months old baby should have already accomplished.  By Christmas 2007 Ayden was able to sit with no help at all, but he still wasn’t trying to crawl yet. Ayden’s first birthday approached fast. One day, a week before his first birthday, I had laid Ayden on the floor for some tummy time and ran to the bathroom. Being that it was just my daughter and Ayden in the house, I always kept the door open so I could hear them if something went wrong. My daughter was in my room, watching television at the time when I heard slapping on the living room floor not a second after I had gotten into the hallway.

I thought nothing of it, maybe Ayden was just slapping the floor, but this sound was getting closer, it was coming down the hallway towards me. I couldn’t see out the bathroom door, so this mysterious sound made me anxious. As it grew closer to the bathroom, where I was, I grabbed the towel rack, ready to hit it once it came into view. Standing, ready to strike, the sound had stopped. I peeked down the hall, nothing was there, I was about to step out of the bathroom when I looked down and saw Ayden sitting in the bathrooms doorway, smiling at me. Ayden had crawled! For the first time he crawled, and on top of that, he crawled to find me! Right then I had found my hope! Autism kidnapped my son, and I'm getting him back!

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Comments 23 comments

Teresitak6 profile image

Teresitak6 2 years ago from New York

Good luck with your little angel. God Bless you


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 4 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

Thank you so much, Cj. There are complications right now, but that too will be discussed in later hubs. I appreciate the feedback!


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

You are a talented writer, Anaydena, and I pray that your little boy is still showing signs of improvement. Please hang in there and thank you for being such a good mommy.

May God be with you and yours - C.J. Sledgehammer

Voted up, interesting, beautiful, useful and downright awesome!!!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

A connection between immunizations and autism has been proven to exist. I cannot understand why something is not done to change the amount received at one time. That is a lot of chemical going into a tiny body. I am so sorry this happened to your beautiful baby. May he be healed by the name of Jesus!


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

@wayseeker I appreciate that, thank you so much. Honestly I don't think Ayden's the lucky one for having me, I'm the lucky mother to have him. He's enriched my life in so many ways , as each of my children do, but Ayden teaches me every day about being a better person. As a mother and a human being.


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 5 years ago from Colorado

Anaydena,

What an emotional ride through the experience of a parent who is facing this challenge. I have had a number of autistic students in my class, and have always tried to treat them with as much understanding and respect as possible. I have thought, at times, about what it would be like to face this challenge as a parent, but never has it been so vivid as I find it here in this article.

Thank you for this window into the challenges and joys of raising an autistic child. You should take great pride in the love you have and in your strength as a parent. There are all together too many kids who do not have the gift of a mother such as you.

Blessings to you and your family,

wayseeker


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

Well also because back then, if you were mentally disabled they'd put you in a mental institution where "shock therapy" wasn't uncommon. I'm glad we have a bit of an understanding about this epidemic now, but we still have a long way to go. Thank you for your compliment, it does make me feel very good that I can shine some light on this horrible situation that most people are actually still in the dark about.


Christine P Ann profile image

Christine P Ann 5 years ago from Australia

I don't think Ayden could ask for a better mum. You have done well in following your instincts as a mother. My eldest sister who is now in her sixties was never properly diagnosed, however to this day she has never cried, although she does get depressed often, was slow to walk but never crawled nor does she swing her arms which I believe is very important to stimulate both sides of the brain. She currently lives in a group home and is doing well but still does not know know how to show emotion well. I believe her biggest problem was my mum and dad burying their heads in the sand and instead of seeking help with her they babied her and would not allow her to do many many things that I believe she could have done if only they had given her guidance and encouragement as you are doing with your child. All the very best. Loved your hub voted up beautiful and awesome.


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

Thank you so much! I appreciate the compliment, and thank you for taking the time to read my hub :D


fashion 5 years ago

Great hub.No doubt you are a great writer.


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

Thank you so much! It's always a good feeling knowing that I have touched someone's heart!


alixwhitney profile image

alixwhitney 5 years ago

You are a really beautiful writer. You can definitely feel your plight through your words. I admire you so much! Best wishes for continued progress with your son. :)


bemmerhodgespoet1 profile image

bemmerhodgespoet1 5 years ago from Plantersville , Alabama

MY CHILD DOESN'T HAVE AUTISM BUT HE DOES HAVE ADD/ADHD.YOUR STORY IS TRUELY INSPIRATIONAL.CONTINUE TO BE A GREAT MOTHER TO YOUR CHILD&ENCOURAGE HIM!MY SON IS NO LONGER ON MEDICATION-I AM THE PROUD MOTHER OF A 17YR. OLD HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR.ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE THROUGH PRAYER,PATIENCE&DETERMINATION!


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

@Lyricallor Thank you so much! Writing and drawing is my therapy. I love writing, and I love drawing, it's just really soothing and you can get your feelings out. I like writing for Hubpages because it allows you to write just about anything you want, and you can get your message across to other people you wouldn't have otherwise been able to. I've read your hubs Lyricallor, and you have very good hubs yourself. I appreciate your comment and your encouragement!


Lyricallor profile image

Lyricallor 5 years ago from Croydon

I did things a little in reverse because I found your second hub first and didn't want to leave the page. If writing about it is therapeutic for you, then keep writing. I know that others in similar positions will get something from it. My hope is that you have the support you need for such a challenging role.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

I have only known personally one child with autism and he memorized telephone books. Have you ever heard of such a thing? He also screamed and cried if he didn't get just what he wanted, he couldn't be distracted from that in any way. Does that sound right? Voted up for sharing and I will go to your next which is where I found you.


mkvealsh profile image

mkvealsh 5 years ago

I was a teacher's aide in a school for handicapped children and I worked with a few children who had autism. Keep working with him and expecting more from him each day. I am convinced that with a lot of attention these children can accomplish so much! Sounds like you are a great mom--don't give up. And keep writing about it, too!


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

Doug is good, but Jenny McCarthy is also a very good advocate for Autism.


TravelinAsia profile image

TravelinAsia 5 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

Doug Flutie, I am not sure if you know who he is, he was a quarterback in the NFL. He has a son with Autism, and he used to have a cereal called "Flutie Flakes", I believe the proceeds went to study Autism. You might want to look him up .. he is quite an inspirational guy!


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

Unfortunately, Ayden doesn't still talk, and he's 4 1/2 now. My Birthday was June 28 and I just turned 25 years old. Ayden wanted some of my soda and normally I don't give any of my kids soda, but I told him to do the sign for more, AND HE DID IT! I can't express my joy. Then he tried to say more, he said , "mo, mo" and I FLIPPED! They told me he'd never talk, but I knew he could I'm just writing and helping in the mean time.


Pam 5 years ago

My grandson was a normal baby, until he reached two. He had been talking, playing with his cousins, Then all of a sudden he quit talking and didn't socialize like he had been. We went to St. Louis Cardinal Glennon for help. He was diagnosed with mild to moderate Autism. Since receiving home therapy and now summer school, he is slowly beginning to talk in sentences. It is a slow progress, but it is progress.


Anaydena profile image

Anaydena 5 years ago from Arlington, TX, USA Author

I'm sorry to hear that. No parent should ever have to go through this. It's an epidemic that is often overlooked. Fortunately and thankfully Ayden doesn't have seizures, but I do feel your pain. It's a heavy pill to swallow, but all we can do is show then that we love them, and keep pushing forward.


Justin Tyme 5 years ago

Yes,My son was pretty much like that,except,he started haing seziures and reflux,chronic loose stools,failure to thrive,frequent infections.The vaccines are to blame,and they know it.

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