Echoic welcomes you to celebrate Autism Awareness!!
Autism Awareness is so much of our daily society with millions of sufferers of this horrible but beautiful disorder. My son, Hayden is turning eleven this month on the 4th. He was born and seemed to be a thriving little boy until he became about a year old, then there became concerns. Or at least I had concerns, by the age of two he wasn’t speaking and starting showing violent temper tantrums. By the age of four he was not ready for preschool. At the age of five, his dad and I divorced and by the time he was six, I had him diagnosed with Autism, Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD), Anxiety, OCD and ADHD, insomnia, and chronic pain. The psychologist said it was a miracle that my son was even able to walk, dress himself, and feed himself for how severe his Autism was.
I finally was able to breathe because I had an idea of what was finally happening inside of my little boy. With my daughter’s support, I almost instantly knew that I was not going to medicate my son unless it was absolutely necessary and I haven’t yet. My daughter KayCee and I started researching and digging for intervention at home. At first we did put Hayden into Speech Therapy for the next couple years, but it just made him close up and defiant. I had also enrolled him into an online public school with an IEP. When it came to the end of the third grade and his teachers wanted to pass him onto the fourth grade and he hadn’t even learned his entire alphabet yet or alone knew how to read and write. I pulled him, my daughter and I started from scratch and built his entire curriculum from the bottom up to fulfill his needs, which we still do every August. He still struggles with his reading and writing, but that’s okay. He is partially verbal and non-verbal with the use of sign language on the side.
He loves learning anything and everything to do with civilizations, past war times, and cultures. He likes Science, Physical Education and Health. He enjoys the Arts, Music and Poetry, and he loves hearing my poems. He has the sweetest personality and the biggest heart with the best intentions in the world. He loves playing Minecraft with his older brother Mitch.
However, over the last year or so, we all constructed the rules, routines and daily life to his needs. We showed him compassion, respect and love, instead of strict and harsh guidance which I honestly believe was the answer to a lot of his emotional, mental, psychological behaviors.
During the times of high stress and unexpected changes Hayden, will get emotional and his pain level increases. At such times, we fight insomnia and high anxiety and nightmares when he does sleep. I have to keep his environment free of stress as possible, but during these times he practices yoga and meditation with me and his sister with extra support from his brother helps him pull through. Our lives have changed greatly since his diagnose but it is all for the good.
I am dedicating this section of Echoic Magazine in my son, name and honor for his strengths and battles and I am asking all of you to take a quick moment and sign up for the 2017 Light It Up Blue at Autism Speaks or make a donation in Echoic or Hayden’s name is help the research fund for Autism.
I wrote this poem for Hayden years before he was diagnosed with Autism, when he was a bright happy playful little boy who was reaching his milestones. Those are great memories but I would not change his outcome for anything, because he has taught me what really matters in life and how beautiful life is through his eyes.
Hayden Von Dale
Having you to hold, was the greatest gift you see
Always playing and abundance of laughter you may be,
You like to sit and read and you are not even three,
Delicate as a rose, handsome as a prince
Enchanted by learning something new,
Now you are growing into a tot, you will be my baby forever more
Very full of hugs and kisses, please means a kiss, a thank you is a bow
On the go more than you will ever know, wishing I had your energy to keep up
Never filling that tummy, generous helpings of food and screaming for more
Dancing to the music, with you big bro
Always smiling and saying I love you’s
Loving and caring, showing everyone you meet,
Each of one them falling at your feet