Caleb and Matthew's Stories

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Caleb's Story

Please meet five-year-old Caleb, the youngest of three. Caleb was bright-eyed from the moment that he was born. Although he was not a super happy baby, he was not miserable either. He was quite content to be left alone and not cuddled much. 

Early on, his parents noticed that he was not responding to his name like most babies do and that he was incredibly stubborn. While they were concerned about his hearing, he did turn quite readily to noise, just not their voices.  As months went on, he seemed less and less connected to the world around him.  Yet he met typical milestones: he crawled at ten months, walked just after he turned one, started babbling on time, and even talked early.  However, something was different.  He did not really play with toys; he was much more interested in watching the colorful pictures on the TV. His vocabulary would come and go, they never heard him call them ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy,’ and his stubborn streak was growing. By the age of two, Nicola sat her husband down, and told him that she suspected Autism, but with everything they had already been through, Todd thought she was over-analyzing. At two-and-a-half, they took Caleb to the family doctor, and requested a referral to Matthew’s pediatrician for testing. While she thought they were over-reacting, she sent them to the pediatrician based on her suspicion of ‘absent seizures.’  Although they knew this was not the issue, it got them the appointment that they wanted. Nicola made a list of all of Caleb’s ‘quirks.’ The Pediatrician confirmed their suspicions immediately. While they were relieved to have their suspicions confirmed, they felt their world crumble a bit when they heard the words, “I believe your suspicions are correct … Caleb is showing signs of Autism.”  The word “Autism” echoed for days; such a daunting prognosis for their beautiful little boy.  

Caleb was formally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder just two weeks before his third birthday. The changes in the last two years have been amazing! Caleb, now five, is a bright, loving little boy with a twinkle in his eye! He is very busy, but he can now look into his parents’ eyes and say, “I love you Mommy” and “I love you Daddy.” He has a great sense of humour, loves ‘Thomas the Tank Engine,’ ‘Cars,’ and Disneyland.  

He works hard with his therapy team, and that hard work is paying off. He now attends Kindergarten, and has a fantastic teacher and amazing classmates. He still has challenges, but everyday is a little better than the day before.  

Caleb’s future is still so uncertain, but with lots of hard work, his parents know that there will be many more accomplishments to be celebrated.

Matthew's Story

Meet 18-year-old Matthew. Matthew loves people, and he loves getting to know them – truly know them! 

Matthew was born full term and healthy. But just two short days after leaving the hospital, Matthew was extremely restless and fussy. Matthew’s grandmother was staying with them, and sensing Mother Nicola’s tiredness, took over baby duty, and sent Nicola to bed. Within half-an-hour, Nicola’s mother was screaming for her.  When Matthew’s parents got to the living room, Matthew was foaming at the mouth. He was only six-days-old, and tests showed that he had suffered a stroke which was causing seizures.  The hardest part for his parents, at this point, was watching their baby being taken into a Heli-Ambulance bound for Children’s Hospital without them; they needed to catch a ferry. 

The staff at BC Children’s Hospital managed to get the seizures under control, but they were now monitoring his head size as he had developed water on the brain.  His head was getting larger and larger, and after just three days, surgery was performed to insert a shunt that would drain the water from his brain and into his stomach.   While they were told he would live, nobody could tell them what quality of life he would have. The right side of his brain was damaged, and he had Cerebral Palsy. 

Matthew spent five years on anti-seizure medication, which meant regular blood work, followed by three years weaning him off of the medication to get him to where he is today – 10 years seizure free! 

At 18 years of age, Matthew truly is a wonderful young man with a heart of gold and the brightest smile. From very early on, he had a way of lighting up the room with his presence, and he still does today. 

While he does experience some weaknesses on the left side of his body and some learning delays, his family could not be any prouder of the young man who God has given them.  

He truly is a joy and a miracle!