Cadyn's Story

Cadyn pictured to the far right with his sister Abigail and brother Dax

Cayden's Story
I became a mother almost 8 years ago. At 20 years old I was nervous about holding someone else's life in my hands. It wasn't that I thought myself incapable, it was this child's future that scared me. God had sent me a gift and I didn't want to let either of them down. To this day, I still pray for guidance in every decision I make regarding my children.
Looking back, Cadyn hit milestones at a slower rate than most babies his age, but he was my first child and the first grandchild on both sides of the family. By the time more babies came along and began to develop so much faster than Cadyn.... I had a good ole case of denial to set in. He walked at 14 months, but was still very clumsy. He said his first word at 10 months old and he said it with fervor,'Nana!', my mother. He was mad because his dad & I had left him in his playpen and wouldn't get him out. Well, he knew 'Nana' would so he yelled for her and of course got his way.
As Cadyn got older he attempted to speak, but only a handful of people very close to him understood the few words he could say. He was a very dependent toddler; relying on adults to do things instead of attempting them himself. The people close to him knew what he was saying and just gave him what he wanted with a simple grunt or gesture from him. He was always well accomodated for, but despite that he still attempted speaking and learning new words. I now know that accommodating him so much only held him back. When Cadyn was almost 2, a family member mentioned to me that he may have 'ADD'. I see now that it was only out of concern, but I felt as if it were an attack and unjustified. I told this family member that if my child had any problems I would take care of him and I didn't need nor did I want his opinion. It may have been because his child, my niece,seemed to be progressing faster than Cadyn and I was scared. Scared to even think about something being 'wrong' with my baby. Denial can make someone turn cold in an instant. I won't lie and say that watching family members' children learn so much so quickly didn't hurt because it did. But it never changed the love or faith I had in Cadyn.

He started pre-k at 3 years old and his teacher had to learn to understand him.
This, along with watching my niece progress, helped me to realize he wasn't as advanced in language as the other children his age. I honestly thought he would just 'grow' out of it. I was heartbroken to know that I hadn't let myself realize he was lagging behind. I felt like I had let him down and that I was an awful mother.
The county school system tested at the preschool he went to, so he had hearing and cognitive testing. He passed his hearing test and most of his cognitive testing. His clumsiness made him fail a portion of it. Speech therapy was immanent and he got started right away. What made me feel even worse than I already did, was my mother and I sitting in the first meeting with a speech pathologist and learning that early intervention had been available for him when he was 2 years old. He never missed a check up with his pediatrician, but his speech or delays were never brought up so that just gave me more of a reason to not worry and push it to the back of my mind.
When it was time for him to move up to 4k I began noticing he was delayed in other areas. He could say his alphabet and colors, but didn't retain anything else that he'd been taught the previous year.
4k and his teacher were fast paced and Cadyn just couldn't keep up. He cried not wanting to go to school and I knew something was wrong because he loved pre-k and was always more than willing to go. I had meetings with his teacher on and off throughout the year and she was concerned about his attention span or the lack there of. He managed to learn to write his first and last name, but couldn't recognize letters or numbers while the other children in his class were beginning to read sight words and learn the letters and their sounds.
He continued in speech and we loved his speech teacher. She worked intensely with him on a program designed for children with Apraxia, which she believed was a possibility as far as a diagnosis for his speech delays. It turned out not to be, but the method worked wonders and he excelled in that area.
We still didn't know where to turn or what to do to find out why he seemed to be behind in other areas. His 4k teacher wanted him to repeat instead of moving on to Kindergarten. I refused because his dad & I felt like he shouldn't repeat preschool. I wanted him to experience public school and see if things got better. If he was ADHD my husband and I weren't ready to medicate him at 4 years old. I still stand by our decision to have moved him up.
I got to know his Kindergarten teacher and stayed in constant contact with her. My mother, and my husband and I worked together to get his homework done and study every night. Cadyn just wasn't retaining the information. I voiced my concerns and was told by his new speech teacher about The Jaycee Evaluation Center within Ellisville State School that evaluated children at no charge to the parents and I was also looking into having him evaluated by DuBard, a school for language disorders that also specializes in Dyslexia. All of this got started close to the end of his first semester in Kindergarten. Over the next 6 months Cadyn went through numerous evaluations and testing. We got the ADHD diagnosis first. I was crushed because I was so against medication. At this point I'd been working for an Optometrist for 2 years and our office saw the children from a local institution. I'd witnessed so many children medicated and had seen so many unsettling things that I was adamant he not be put on medication. It wasn't until I observed his evaluation at the school for language disorders that realization hit. Cadyn's attention span was so bad that he couldn't sit still for longer than 30 seconds. No wonder he hadn't learned anything in the 2 1/2 years he'd been in school. I knew then that something had to be done.
I still believe medicating a child is not the only treatment for ADHD. Cadyn depends on his schedule or our world seems to fall apart. He also has strict regulations on caffeine and sweets.
In July of 2011 we got Cadyn's diagnosis' from the school for language disorders. I had managed to stay strong throughout this whole process and never shed a tear for almost 3 years. When the director told me everything my child had been dealing with it took my reserve and I cried. Right there in front of her. I felt horrible, but seeing those 'disorders' written in black and white made it all real. I quickly gained my composure, thanked her, and left.
Cadyn's Diagnosis' are:
Articulation Disorder
Language Disorder
And believe it or not - Gifted
I say believe it or not because when I called our districts Special Education Coordinator to begin making preparations and decisions for the next school year I was asked a question by the coordinators secretary that blew me away and left me infuriated. Her question was "how can a child be gifted with all of those problems?" My child IS gifted with a very high IQ. Like so many other children with learning disabilities, assumptions were made based on ink & paper, not on my child as a person. His disorders kept what was in his mind from being shown to the world. Over the years, Cadyn had struggled knowing that something wasn't quite right. His Kindergarten year he stole, as he put it, 'the smartest kid in class' paper and wrote his name on it. Because he wanted so bad to be seen as smart. He asked me once "Mommy, why do I talk funny?" My heart broke for this precious little boy that would have a lifetime of trying to prove himself to the world.
However, I refused to be the victim or let him be. I got to work on a plan B in the case that he didn't get into DuBard. He would go to private school with smaller classes and take speech therapy privately also because private schools do not offer those services. We were going on good faith that his ADHD medication would help with academics. The school we were waiting for had a very long waiting list and I didn't have much faith that he would get in. That didn't stop my determination though. I kept my hopes up and prayed every night that he got in. In mid- July of 2011, not long after I had gotten the diagnosis', I got a letter in the mail saying that Cadyn was not accepted into DuBard at this time. My heart fell, but I knew he'd be ok. I began making concrete preparations for plan B. 2 weeks later I got a phone call from the director of DuBard saying that a child had moved and would no longer be going and asked me if we were still interested. I gave her a very excited Yes and here we are now a year and a half later. Cadyn is excelling in his new school and knows now that he IS smart. Not every child has the support that Cadyn does and they are written off. Not only by teachers and doctors, but by their own parents. The world needs to educate themselves and give these children a fighting chance to show everyone what they are capable of! Every child should have someone believe in them and push them to succeed to the best of their abilities. There is much more about Cadyn's journey that I cannot wait to share with you all. He is an inspiration to me everyday and such a precious child. Of course, he's also your typical boy. It's been a journey of learning for our whole family & it isn't over yet, but what I do know for sure is that we will make it.

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