Cameron and Madison’s Family
Cameron and Madison are siblings diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech-Language Disorder, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and a host of other medical conditions that manifest from having Autism. Cameron is 14. Madison is 9. Both were diagnosed at very early ages and began Early Intervention Programs at age 2. They have benefited from many years of educational and private therapeutic & medical interventions supporting their needs. And even though they still present deficits in communication, social awareness, and behaviors, our family considers itself very blessed that Cam and Madi continue to thrive, and conquer challenges the average people take for granted. Like making friends. Cam and Madi struggle at times with how to be friendly or make friends. Sometimes they can be either too friendly because they don’t understand personal space. Or, they struggle just to hold a typical conversation with their peers. Sometimes they become overwhelmed and begin to “stim” by engaging in repetitive behaviors, or echolalic speech because it helps to reduce their stress levels when in uncomfortable situations to them. Something as simple as making eye contact with others, for long periods of time, can be really difficult for them. Something Madison struggles with more than Cameron. It’s not uncommon for them to have “meltdowns” when they become overwhelmed, or there is a change in their routine. This behavior often happens in public, and people stare, not knowing that our kids are actually having a hard time, but in no way, giving us a hard time. It’s probably why they are each other’s best friends because they know THEY are very much alike but are a bit different from others. But, it’s their differences that make them so very special to all who know and love them.
Another challenge they face is the ability to eat a diverse diet. Both have limited diets not because they don’t like food, but because of their heightened sensory issues, they struggle with certain textures, smells, and tastes of foods. Cam even underwent feeding therapy which helped him tremendously to accept new flavors and textures of different food groups. He gained as much as 20 lbs after having a Failure to Thrive diagnosis for years when he was younger. We often have to purchase supplements and probiotics (not covered by insurance) for them to get the nutrients they need to grow as healthy kids.
It is no secret that the demands of raising a child with a disability can be tough. Raising 2 with a disability is probably the most challenging thing my husband, Blair, and I have ever had to do in our lives. But, just as much as we have challenges, we have so many blessings being the parents of these 2 amazing kiddos. We are also blessed to have 2 older sons, Darion and Zavier, who are absolutely adored by Cam and Madi. Dari and Zav agreed to do something that we had the hardest time asking of them, and that is to be there 100% for Cam and Madi when we are no longer here. We felt a sense of guilt even asking them to take on such a HUGE responsibility because no parent wants to burden their kids. But, Dari and Zav accepted that responsibility without even a blink of an eye. They were like “yeah, of course!” With that millennial eye squint and stare of “why would you even need to ask us that?” LOL We are so blessed to have 4 of the World’s Best Kids!
We thought with the Pandemic, 2020 would be our only year of change and challenges, but 2021 actually threw us for a loop. We lost the last Matriarch of our family, and that was my Mother-In-Law in April. The kids’ Grandmother. May of this year, my husband also lost his Best Friend since elementary school, who also happened to be our kids’ Godfather. So there’s been a lot of changes. Changes which have created challenges for us all, especially for Cam and Madi. But we are a very blessed family, too! God has been tremendous to our family! And we are so blessed that He has given our family so many reasons to smile, too! We are also grateful for His grace that He has given us an opportunity to be blessed by Specially Gifted! Thank you all for just the thought of considering our family. This is probably the biggest blessing, and we’ve been blessed a lot by His Grace only! But this is definitely the biggest blessing we’ve had in about a decade. Thanks so much, Specially Gifted, for all you do for families like ours, and all that you’re going to do for many Special Needs families to come! God bless you all!
Gift: Trip (spring break location), vitamins, probiotics, tumbling classes (1 year) for both kids
Given: December 2021
Location: Cobb County