THE DRADEN WEB PAGE
My name is Draden and I'm 8 years old. My parents really wanted everyone to know about my life with Autism, so they created this Web Page. I enjoy looking at my pictures and reading the cool messages that you leave on my guestbook. Enjoy your visit here, and don't forget to sign that guestbook!!!
Me and My best pal - My Brother!
"What do you think is wrong with your son"? That was the question that we heard the day Draden was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We knew....We knew for a long time...We just needed a Doctor to clarify it for us. From the day that he was born, it was there. Once we brought him home the crying started....and didn't stop. Holding him and walking with him didn't help to console him it just seemed to make him angrier...the arched back, the non stop screaming. As time went by the crying disappeared and he began to be the perfect baby. He would sit and play for hours on end and you wouldn't hear a peep out of him. He would never go snooping into things he shouldn't, didn't climb on things, or throw food at meal time or any of the other things that parents usually pull their hair out over. Everyone would rant and rave about how good he was and how lucky we were to have such a good toddler. Of course, there were things that were not happening that alarmed us and we would bring these issues up at his regular Doctor's appointments. We were very concerned about his lack of vocabulary, and his intense temper tantrums. We were quickly made to feel that we were first time parents that didn't have a clue what we were talking about! "Oh, boys are slow talkers, he'll talk when he's ready, they really aren't tantrums..he's just strong willed". Strong willed??
After many appointments and long waiting lists (at least we thought they were long - we'd learn what long meant later!)we were finally given a diagnosis in January 2000. At this point we were told about all the services that were going to be available to us. Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Respite, Outreach programs, Supplies. Wow! We were so overwhelmed, finally we were going to get some help. We soon learned how difficult it was going to be to get this help. For instance, we were given two choices for Speech. One, we could get one hour a week, if we brought him there, or two, he could get an hour a month at home. Obviously we choose one hour a week - but what was one hour a week going to accomplish for a child who still wasn't saying "Mommy"? Occupational Therapy....now there's a waiting list! 18 months. Huh? We had some serious behavioral issues that needed to be dealt with NOW, not in 18 months. We were able to have his diapers supplied for us, and we did fight for respite...but diapers and a few hours of quiet wasn't helping Draden. We felt that we had been let down so hard.
We began to search the internet. We came across alot of information, and then we found a site about ABA. ABA? Applied Behavioral Analysis had us hooked from the beginning. The thought of having one-on-one therapy for our son 4 - 5 times a week that would help Draden "recover" from Autism is exactly what we wanted. Our research showed us that this therapy would cost $40,000.00 per year. We began to fundraise with our family and friends. We did Garage Sales, Hot Dog Sales, A Benefit Social, Silent Auctions, Golf Tournaments, Home Party Sales, Donations,etc. During all of this we continued to research how other Provinces were handling the demand for ABA. We had several email and telephone conversations with different levels of Government across Canada, and time and time again...we came to see that Alberta seemed to be offering what we needed. After plenty of checking and double-checking, we made the decision that moving to Alberta was in the complete best interest of Draden's future. We arrived in Spruce Grove in the middle of September 2000. We were quickly assigned a Family Worker who put us in contact with a school in the area that was planning to begin the very first in-school IBI (Intensive Behavioral Intervention) program for Autistic children.
Draden has been in an Early Education class since Oct.2000 and in the IBI Program since Mar.2001. The change that we have seen since he began at his school is wonderful. We no longer deal with tantrums all day long, and his speech has come so far. We can now ask him questions and get more than just a yes or no out of him. He has started to initiate conversation and has developed a sense of humor! We still have days that never seem to end, and we have alot of issues that still need to be dealt with. We are still working on toilet training, and food sensitivities and some head banging and hand flapping. But where we were a year ago is far behind where we are today. Today, we are travelling down the road to recovery. A road with many bumps, but the view is amazing!
Autism is a type of Pervasive Developmental Disorder. It is a severe disruption of the normal developmental processes that occurs in the first two years of life. It can lead to impaired language, play, cognitive, social and adaptive functioning, causing children to fall farther and farther behind their peers as they grow. The cause is unknown, but evidence points to physiological causes such as neurological abnormalities to certain areas of the brain.
Some of the manifestations of autism - not all persons with autism experience each
of these symptoms, and they vary in severity: