Developmentally, Cameron made all of his milestones
appropriately (and ahead of his neurotypical sister). That is
until after Cameron's first birthday when we began seeing ASD symptoms,
although at the time we weren't aware that they were indeed ASD symptoms
we were witnessing.
The first symptoms we witnessed were food
associated. Cameron had always been a very LARGE baby with a
healthy appetite. Around his first birthday following a stomach
virus and a routine vaccination he began refusing any food that had texture to
it. He began only accepting foods that were dry or breaded (ie dry
cereal, bread, crackers, chicken nuggets, ect). He would scream
when offered anything else even though he once loved all food. We
were again assured that this was "normal," and advised to continue
offering him a variety of foods and that he would someday return to
them. To this day food and texture remain two of our biggest obstacles.
We became further alarmed about his nutrition when Cam was 16 months old
and began losing weight and falling sharply on the percentile growth chart.
He went from a fully plump toddler to an emaciated, pale little boy
almost overnight. When naked he appeared to be skin and bone with
the exception of his belly which was distended. He looked similar
of those children so often seen in National Geographic who are ill and
doctor began monitoring his weight for a few months but again decided
that he was "normal" and attributed his weight change to genetics and
recent illness (bronchitis).
Now we know this is a classic
physical symptom of children with ASD. We've learned that the cause for this lies with
the vaccinations that Cameron received (and the metals found within
them). Metal poisoning does damage to the
intestinal system and digestive process. This damage is often
referred to as "leaky gut." Our child was not in fact
Physically, our child was disappearing before our eyes. He had become extremely constipated, was in severe
physical/abdominal pain (screaming for extended periods of time while
attempting to place pressure on his belly), lost weight, developed skin
rashes (eczema), had dark circles under his eyes, was extremely pale,
seemed chronically ill and had developed asthma.
Later, when we knew better, lab results showed that he was very low in
minerals, vitamins and amino acids because of the overload of
metals. We also found that he had developed a severe allergy to
casein (dairy products) and gluten (wheat, oat, and barley products) in
part due to his leaky gut. These foods were entering his blood
system before being making their full journey through the intestines and
being broken down appropriately. Therefore, they were entering
Cameron's blood system in the form of an opiate (similar to morphine or
The issue that we were always most concerned with was
Cameron's language skills. He had begun speaking around his first
birthday. He would gain a word use it for a week and then stop
using it or lose it. We again asked his doctors about this and
were told again that this was "normal" for some children. We were
told that he may just be a late talker. We were told not to
pressure him to talk and that his speech would come in it's own time.
We were repeatedly told many bright adults were late talkers, that boys
develop slower than girls, and not to worry. We accepted these
explanations at first since we really wanted our child to be healthy
Some of the other symptoms we started seeing when Cam
was a toddler that we didn't understand were ASD related were:
1. Tactile defensiveness. Although Cameron was a very
affectionate child who loved (and still does love) to be hugged, kissed,
etc; he did not like to be restrained in anyway. That is to say
that he did not like to be touched or picked up when he didn't ask for
it to be done. Other tactile issues that Cam had exhibited were
fears of tight spaces (such as crowded shopping aisles) and a fear of
baths. These issues we were able to work through together using
behavior modification techniques.
2. Stimming. Self stimulation is a common ASD symptom.
In Cameron's case he began sorting everything he touched. He would
sort toys, books, anything he could get his hands on. We pointed
this out to his doctors and were told he was just "quirky" and that he
would likely be an organized adult. We were also able to overcome
Cam's need for order by using behavior modification techniques at home.
Looking back at old videos we now notice that Cam also showed other
symptoms of stimming as a toddler such as: bouncing and hand flapping.
3. Unresponsive to verbal instruction. Cameron has always
been able to multitask things that interest him (computer games,
cartoons, puzzles and toys all at the same time). However, when he
was a toddler he stopped responding to his name when called and would
stare blankly when asked to do something. When we pointed this out
to doctor's we were told he must just have that male gene that filters
out nagging and not to worry.
4. Inappropriate fear. Cameron became abnormally afraid of things
that he need not be afraid of (like swings and tight spaces) while seemingly
fearless in situations
that he needed to be cautious in (such as busy streets and leaps off of
5. Non-age appropriate ability. Upon Cameron's second
birthday we began to witness abilities that were higher than age
appropriate. For instance Cameron could count into the thousands
(forward and backward), recite the alphabet (forward and backward), run
any electronic appliance in our home including our computer (for which
he preferred Microsoft Word and Excel to games), he could type faster
than most adults and was able to read already.
Language Regression. Cameron's speech had been progressing
normally until he was 18 months old and then he began losing words he
once had. He became speechless. He was unable to verbalize
his needs and was only able to speak words that he saw written in front
of him (i.e. he could read aloud but could not speak words on his own and
7. Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder. Between 18 and 24 months Cam developed OCD. This
showed itself from things as small as the kind, size, shape and
presentation of his chicken nuggets to larger routines such as getting
ready for bed. If things were not just right he would have a panic
attack or "meltdown" and have to start from the beginning of
the process to "do it right."
Isolation. Cameron could not play with other children (in fact he
really never even noticed they were in the room with him). He
played on his own and in his own little world. He did seem to be
aware that his parents were in the room and would play with us, but
everyone else appeared to be decor in his world.
Seeking "deep pressure." Cameron began climbing on
furniture and mommy to feed his need for deep pressure. Some of
this was to place pressure on his abdomen to relieve pain; and also to
address sensory issues that he had developed.
Lack of eye contact. Cameron stopped being able to make eye
contact. He would look and people or objects sideways or with one
11. Other physical
symptoms. Extremely pale skin, dark circles under his eyes, eczema,
frequent ear infections, frequent bronchial infections, asthma and
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to be meant as medical advice. Please consult a trusted and
knowledgeable physician when making medical and treatment decisions.