The Real Superman Part XIX

The Real Superman Part XIX

By Jeffrey King

Dylan is 12 years old and as I have explained in previous blog posts he still wears diapers. We were putting out a lot of money on diapers, wipes, etc. We were actually thrilled when we discovered that Medicare would pay for his diaper supplies. It has saved us thousands of dollars over the years. Without that help there is no way we could afford to keep him in diapers. Before he began to have seizures Terri and I and his teachers at school all were trying to potty- train him. We were having some positive results, until he begin to have the seizures, which have robbed him of so much cognitive abilities. He has regressed so much that everything that he once learned or knew has long since disappeared.

I know that there are plenty of special needs parents out there who experience the same things that we have to experience on a daily basis. It never fails when we’re out and about, Dylan has to go in his diaper. We have a small Hyundai Sonata and there are many times that we have to find a parking lot to change him. I usually pull into the back of a parking lot away from any parked cars. I pop the trunk, which I leave it opened to actually block the back window. I grab Dylan’s Superman Backpack and take out a diaper, some wipes, a plastic bag and some hand sanitizer. If it has been hot out, the wipes are usually hot, so, I usually keep a bottle of water up front with me to cool down the wipes, and of course in the winter the wipes are cold and quite often frozen, therefore, as you can imagine, not a pleasant feeling. Regardless this is a necessary evil that has to be taken care of, because we don’t like to let Dylan sit in a dirty Diaper. One afternoon while we were out Dylan done his business and I pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot. I drove to the back lot by some trailers. I popped the trunk retrieved the materials that I needed to change him. As I was changing him, suddenly a car pulled up; of course it was a police car. The officer got out and approached our car. Terri rolled down the window to greet the officer. He immediately asked her if everything was okay. She explained that I was changing my son and explained to him our situation. He was very kind and told us to have a nice day. I knew one day that this would probably happen. We have had other people ride up on us. I guess they are trying to be nosey. It is a shame that even though most malls and department stores have family restrooms where you can change your child; the changing tables are only for infants and small toddlers. Companies really don’t take into consideration families that have special needs children, or family members that they need to care for; that includes toiletry needs. It is my hope that one day this will change and companies will begin to take into consideration these people.

Two years ago we took the family to a theme park. I will not disclose the name of that park, but I will say one of its roller coasters has the name of this titled post. We had Dylan in his Wheelchair/ stroller and we were going to the rides. I have to say I was impressed how they accommodated Dylan and all special needs individuals when it comes to their amusement rides. They allow people with disabilities and handicaps to get on the rides first and let them come through the exits, so as they do not have to wait in line with the crowds. We were having such a good time and we decided to visit their water park. I took Dylan in the bathroom to change him, but was shocked to find out that they didn’t have any family restrooms with any changing tables. I had to take out a sheet that we keep folded in his diaper bag and had to lay it on the floor right by the sinks, because there wasn’t any room in the stalls to change him. Luckily there wasn’t anyone in the restroom at the time and one of the security guards came in. He kept everybody out until I had finished changing Dylan. What a great person he was and I thanked him several times.

After we finished at the water park, we decided to go to one of the shows that the put on in their outside theater. This particular show was a Wild West stunt show. We entered into the arena, which had posted on the outside on a sign “No Strollers allowed in the seating area” I didn’t think anything of it, because Dylan’s chair was actually a wheelchair. Anyway while we were headed to the handicap seating area a security worker came up to us and said, “I am sorry sir, but you cannot bring the stroller in here, it has to be left outside.” I was furious I immediately left and went to find the customer service building to complain about this policy. I got there and told them that this policy was wrong and that this chair is considered a wheelchair. The manager agreed with me and gave me a coupon book with free food coupons. He apologized and called the theater. They sent the security worker up who promptly apologized to me and took me and Dylan back to the show. They brought us up front and we watched the show and all the stunt actors came up after the show to personally greet Dylan and my two other children. They made good on a mistake and I was very pleased with their handling of this situation. I did an online survey about the incident. On the form they had a place where you could enter a comment. I entered this. “I was pleased how your organization handled this situation. I really have only one concern. I would wish that you would consider installing special needs bathrooms for people with special needs.” I added some other things, but that was the most important thing I felt needed addressing.

AS I said before I know there are plenty of families that know our experiences. There are also others that don’t have to consider what we have to actually deal with on a daily basis. It is my hope to bring awareness for parents and families that have children, or family members with special needs that have to deal with these type of issues. I know many companies have stepped up their game to accommodate us folks, and we surely appreciate it, but there is still work to do. We still have other issues that have to be addressed. You see on the daily news about people being brave and standing up for issues that they believe in.  We are hoping that people will stand up for people like Dylan and others like him. We have to be their voice, because many of them don’t have one. We have to be their advocates. Please stand up with us! Thanks! AS always, the Real Superman will continue! Until Next time!

Daily News!!

By Terri King

Dylan was in a pretty good mood today. He had a couple of seizures overnight. He was being silly when I put him on the bus this morning because he didn’t want to walk up the steps. He was standing there with a grin on face, he was like mom I’m not doing this right now.I had to change him before the bus got here today because he decided to lay down and peed through his clothes and got them all wet. So luckily my older son helped me change him real quick before the bus got here.We had to pick him up from school today because the swing doesn’t agree with him anymore.He got sick all over himself.

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The Real Superman Part XVIII

By Jeff King

Charlotte is a little girl that suffered the same intractable seizures that Dylan has, but quite possibly worse than what Dylan has. She was having up to 300 seizures in a week, and she was incapable of doing anything, but having seizures. Her parent’s the Figis tried everything possible to give their little girl a chance at a normal life. They even tried the ketogenic diet, which actually was spear-headed by Dylan’s neurologist, Dr. James Rubenstein. We actually considered this diet for Dylan, but Dr. Rubenstein didn’t think Dylan could benefit from it, since Dylan loves to eat. That is one thing that he loves to do. His favorite food has got to be egg salad, but he loves any bread, therefore, the diet would be very hard and expensive to implement, and we just don’t have the finances to incorporate it into Dylan’s diet. That being said, the Figis tried this diet, but it didn’t work for poor Charlotte, then they discovered a something that seemed to prove very promising to them. Charlotte’s parents found out that there was a boy being treated for Dravet syndrome (Intractable epilepsy) with a form of Cannabis oil that was low in tetrahydrocannabinol, but high in cannabidiol. This was actually working for this child and it had reduced his seizures by half. Charlotte’s parents found a dispensary in Denver and paid for a high strain of Marijuana and employed a friend to extract the oil for them. They tried it on Charlotte and immediately they began to see results. Charlotte went several hours without any seizures and then several days went by; still no seizures. They had discovered a medical miracle. Charlotte’s life was forever changed. She is able to walk, talk, and do all the things a normal child is able to do. To read more about Charlotte’s amazing story please go to this link http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/. Upon reading little Charlotte’s story I was so overwhelmed with joy. For the first time, I felt like there is certainly hope for Dylan. I shared the story with Terri.

We both did more research and found hundreds of cases like Charlotte where this CBD oil was working wonders on people with intractable seizures. Where other medications wouldn’t work, this stuff was working, and without all the negative side effects that these man-made poisons were causing in our children. There is only one problem, medical marijuana isn’t legal in the state of Maryland, at least not at the time that we were researching it. They have since legalized medical marijuana in our state, but, the oil is still not legal.

We even considered selling our house and moving to a state where it was legal, however, I am a permanent substitute teacher and I only make 22, 200 dollars a year. Terri doesn’t work, because someone has to be home at all times in case Dylan gets sick and needs to stay home. We do get about 650.00 a month in social security for Dylan, but that is based on my income. The more I make, the less that they give him. It is a vicious cycle and they have put us through the wringer at least once a year since we have started getting it for him. The actually act like the money is coming out of their pockets. The social security administration is the worst government entity that I have ever had to deal with. I will explain that in a later post though.

Anyway, we decided that it just wasn’t feasible to sell our house, which our mortgage is only 650.00 per month, because it is a town house that I bought as an estate sale. We bought what we knew we could afford at the time. We only had two children then and this is the only house that Dylan has ever known, unlike our other two children, but anyhow, my two other children were in high school, so we really didn’t want to pull up roots and move them somewhere else; let alone another state.

My daughter Destiny graduated with honors this year and wants to be an early education teacher, which she decided since she has had to learn to help take care of Dylan at an early age, so she feels drawn into the education field. We are very proud of her. Our son Dacota will be a senior when school starts again in August. He is thinking about taking up graphic art and design. He is actually good at this already. We are also very proud of him. These two children have grown up knowing what it is like to love and care for a person that has special needs. It has helped them to develop real compassion and ultimate character traits. We sure didn’t want to move, because it just wouldn’t have been fair to them. So for now, we have been writing letters to state and local legislators trying to convince them to champion our cause to get this Charlotte’s Web oil legalized here in Maryland. I am even thinking about including a poll on the blog and asking people to vote, so we can present it to our congressman.

I recently became concerned with another issue that we were facing with Dylan. He is a growing boy and he is very solid. The last time he was weighed he already weighed 95 pounds. This may not seem like a big deal, but our room is upstairs, and yes, he still sleeps with us, because as I said in an earlier post, that we became concerned that he may stop breathing in his sleep, so Terri and I decided that it would be best for him to sleep with us, so that we can monitor him through the night. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about these sort of thing, but, it is what it is. I have been obese for the past two years and hadn’t been really strong enough to continue to lift Dylan up to take him up to bed when he fell asleep downstairs, so in February of this year, I began a diet and exercise program in which I have lost over 30 pounds. I have gained more muscle. I have recently contacted some companies to see if they wanted to exchange products for a review on my blog, so I will be adding those reviews whenever I receive these companies’ products. I figured I needed to get stronger and healthier so that I can do everything in my power to be around for Dylan as long as I can possibly be. As I stated in a previous post. I made a promise to him, that as long as I had a breath in my body and a beat in my heart, I would never place Dylan in a healthcare facility. I will continue to keep everyone updated about the Charlotte’s Web oil and these companies’ products. I am also interested in other things which could be helpful for Dylan and would appreciate any ideas, or feedback that anyone may have! Thank You! Please continue this journey with us and as always we appreciate your comments and feedback. (The Real Superman will as always be continued.)

The Real Superman Part XV

The Real Superman Part XV

By Jeff King

Dylan was doing so well. He no longer was laying around like a lump. He was back! He was all over the place. We had gotten his helmet and tried several times to make him wear it, but we were unsuccessful. Every time we placed it on his head he would rip it off and toss it. We got so tired of fighting with him, we just decided not to try to force him to wear it.

We went to the mall and Dylan would run right to the elevator to watch it go up and down. We were so happy, because the light had returned to his eyes and life had returned to his body once again. This was so amazing. We went everywhere. We even decided to take his chair out of the trunk, because he didn’t have a need for it anymore. I took him to another mall where he enjoyed riding on the little carrousel that was there. He rode it several times and then I took him off of it to walk down to meet Terri and the children where they were getting their hair cut. Dylan took off. He began to run. He ran just like he used to. I was so happy to see him running once again. My man was back and he had proved once again that he was indeed Superman, and those seizures, which are his kryptonite was not going to defeat him. I gave chase, because I still was unsure about him running. I kept thinking, “God please don’t let him have a seizure”, because the floor was concrete and then suddenly he dropped to the floor head first. He lay there in a heap, flailing around uncontrollably. I ran to retrieve him off of the floor and there were several mall kiosk employees who ran to help us. One gentleman grabbed a slew of paper towels and some ice to put on Dylan’s forehead, which he had slightly busted open, but fortunately it was not bad. He did have a goose egg protruding from his forehead, but he was fine. He never cried or screamed or anything. We continued to walk to meet my family, but by now I had firmly taken his hand and made sure he walked beside me.

He begin to have several of these seizures where he would just drop to the floor, ground, etc. They were the most frightening ones, because you never knew when they were going to happen. I had recently been hired as a permanent part time teacher’s assistant at the school I worked for. I started out a one on one temporary employee. I worked with two students who had autism and behavioral issues. I was told that I did so well with them that the school wanted to hire me permanent part time and as soon as a fulltime positon became available then it was mine.  School was scheduled to begin on August 26th 2013. The day before school was to begin. I was upstairs when Terri screamed for me to come downstairs. I ran downstairs. I was greeted by a scene that looked straight out of a crime scene. Blood was everywhere and Dylan was laying on the living room floor in a pool of blood convulsing violently. He had an absence seizure and had fallen and busted his head on the corner of the entertainment center. I had just recently taken a first aid and a CPR course in the summer. I grabbed Dylan up and told my daughter Destiny to grab me something that I could pack his wound with. She grabbed a bunch of paper towels and I reluctantly used them to pack his head to try to stop the bleeding. I told her to call 911 which she did. I examined the gash in his head and it was bad. It was as deep as it was wide. We waited for the paramedics to arrive and they took over. Dylan was sitting on the floor like nothing had even happened to him. He didn’t cry or give any indication that he was ever in any pain. The ambulance took him and my wife to the ER and I followed in the car while Destiny and my son Dacota cleaned up the mess.

I arrived at the hospital several minutes after the ambulance. Once inside the immediately took Dylan into a room where a nurse attended to his wound until a doctor could see him. The doctor came in and examined Dylan and determined that he would either need several stitches or staples. We actually opted for the staples because they would leave less scarring and thank God we had recently taken him to get his hair cut so it was easier for the doctor to clean him up and staple the wound closed. It was on the top of his head, which was another blessing so whenever he grew his hair back the scar would be almost unnoticeable. The doctor put 8 staples into Dylan’s head and once again he never cried or screamed out. His threshold for pain is very high. The only time he cried was whenever we were holding him down, but other than that this little guy is amazing. This is indeed the Real Superman and he was amazing. (To be continued!)

The Real Superman Part XI

By Jeff King

The Real Superman Part XI

By Jeff King

Between the seizures and the meds that Dylan was on, he had regressed; mentally he was possibly 6 to perhaps 9 months in his mind. He no longer talked he would just lay around. We tried to get him up and around, but his muscles would no longer allow him to move fluidly. We were going to try a new medication trileptal. It was very promising. Right away he began to have an allergic reaction to this drug and broke out in hives. We stopped giving it to him right away and called his neurologist. He called us back and told us to continue giving it to him for the next couple of days, but we didn’t. We made another appointment with the neurologist and while we were in his office he began to argue with another neurologist that he shared an office with. It was very unprofessional and the office was full of patients. After he called us in the back to see him, he asked what we were seeing him for. Everything that we told him previously he seemed to have forgotten. We had to explain things all over again to him. He asked us are we still giving Dylan the trileptal and we told him no we stopped a few days ago! He looked at us like there was something wrong with us. I became angry and told him that I wasn’t going to keep giving Dylan the medicine after he was clearly having an allergic reaction to it. We promptly walked out of the office.

When we got home I began to search for a new Neurologist. We found one who worked out of Kennedy Krieger Institute and was a neurologist at John Hopkins University also. Dr. James Rubenstein. This guy was wonderful! He was very caring. He listened to all of our concerns. This wonderful doctor had an amazing bed-side manner reminiscent of the old time country doctors. You could see the empathy he felt towards Dylan. He didn’t look at Dylan as just another patient, one more number. No this gentleman was the real deal and he was very caring. He also answered every question or concern that we had. He took extensive notes and would ask us questions too. The other neurologist was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide. I will just refer him to that name, because, I don’t want a law suit against me for deformation of character, but this other Dr. was completely terrible when it came to Dylan. We had a wonderful first meeting with Dr. Rubenstein and He said that we will continue Dylan on the Keppra and slowly wean him off the Clonazepam, because we were sure that this was making him very lethargic. We went home thinking that we have finally found the right neurologist for Dylan and we were absolutely right.

Dylan didn’t make too much progress as we slowly weaned him off the Clonazepam. He still was very lethargic, but the seizures seemed to only worsen. He was having seizures where he would go into full grand mal seizures and when he came out of them he could no longer walk, or stand. His whole right side was like he was paralyzed. These seizures really frightened us and we noted each and every one that he had. He had also had some that were so severe that we had to give him Diazepam anally to force them to stop. Then he was rushed to the hospital several times to be checked out only to have him released in a few hours. This was very emotionally draining on us.

It was around then I was researching seizures when I first heard the term intractable epilepsy, which meant epilepsy resistant to all drugs. As I was reading about this I also found an article on SUDEP, which is an acronym for Sudden Death in Epilepsy patients. This scared me half to death and I filed it away, I hadn’t wanted to share it with Terri, because, it would only make her cry. Then Unique which was the rare chromosome disorder support group started running an article on children with Idic 15 dying un-expectantly in their sleep. This brought tears to my eyes. I read about a little ten-year old boy who had went to sleep only to never awake the next morning. I didn’t want to tell Terri any of that, but little did I know, she had already read the article. Dylan would never again sleep in his own bed for fear he would have a seizure and we would not hear him. He has been sleeping in our bed ever since.

Parents shouldn’t have to fear these things, but this is the cruel hand that fate has dealt us. We could sit back and be passive victims or we could take this fight on tooth and nail being proactive and gaining as much knowledge as we could possibly gain. Dylan needed us to be the best parents that we could be and that is exactly what we were going to do! We would never give up on him! Surrender was not an option! We were only getting started on this fight and I’ll be damned if we weren’t going to do everything in our power to make sure Dylan would fight this too! (To be continued.)

The Real Superman Part VIII

By Jeff King

The Real Superman Part VIII

Throughout the years, Dylan continued to struggle. He could walk and run. He could talk, but as I mentioned before his language was rote and he would just use words that he had heard. I believe that he did know some of them though.

Dylan ran in the Special Olympics when he was six years old. We bought him a bike for Christmas and he would get on it out in the front of our house and using his feet he could ride it around. It had training wheels on it, and he never actually learned to ride it, but, that didn’t matter to him; he loved it and had fun just sitting on it and using his feet to move it.

Dylan used to go with my wife up to my older children’s elementary school every morning. There was this little girl, who absolutely adored Dylan and she would go out of her way every morning to seek him out, so that she could give him a kiss on the cheek. My wife said Dylan began to look forward to the little girl coming over to him to give him a kiss. Terri said that he would smile. That blew out my argument that Dylan would not have a first kiss, because, he had many.

Dylan also liked to get in the front seat of our minivan and sit up at the steering wheel. He would laugh and say, “I’m driving, I’m driving.” He would turn the steering wheel back and forth, and he also would turn on the turn signals. These are days that I miss so much. Dylan was incredibly smart. He would come up to us and say, “Want to sing?” Whenever it would rain, if we were walking to the minivan he would always inform us, “It’s raining, it’s rrraining!” One winter we had a big snow storm. It was Dylan’s first real snow and we were at my brother in laws house. I had Dylan outside playing in the snow, he cracked me up when he suddenly said, “Look at all this damn snow! It’s cool!” He did pick up some inappropriate language and at one of his IEP meetings his teacher informed us that he had dropped the F Bomb, but she added, he used it in an appropriate way. We struggled hard to get him to stop saying those words. Many of those words he had learned from his older siblings and probably neighborhood children too. This may sound pretty asinine, but, I would actually love to hear him drop the F Bomb again. At least then, I could hear his voice once more.

As I mentioned before, he could be quite a clown. He would do things to make us all laugh at him. This may actually sound inappropriate, but this was one other thing that would make us all laugh at Dylan.  As I mentioned before, Dylan loved Dora the Explorer. He loved the character the map. If you’re not familiar with the map from Dora, it was wrapped up like a scroll and it would sing, “There’s a place you need to go. I can get you there you know, cause, I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map I’m the Map.” Well Dylan would actually pull his penis out and sing this little tune. We assume that Dylan thought that his penis was the map, and he would start singing this tune whenever he pulled it out. We struggled to get him to stop, and we’re still struggling with that problem today. He doesn’t sing the song anymore though.

He also knew how to get our sympathy. One day I had him out front and he was running up and down the sidewalk, when suddenly he tripped and fell. He injured his right arm. We took him to a clinic where they examined him and told us that he probably bruised his arm. They wrapped it and told us to put ice on it and give him Tylenol for pain. We did this for about two weeks, because he continued to favor his arm. He would scream whenever one of us tried to lift it up over his head. He whimpered and acted like a wounded animal. We felt bad for him and took him to his pediatrician who re-examined it and said he didn’t see anything wrong with it. He set us up an appointment at a specialist. It took us about two weeks for his appointment and we continued to keep his arm wrapped in the meantime, but whenever one of us tried to lift up that arm, he would continue his little act. Finally the day of his appointment. The bone specialist looked at the x-rays that we already had and took some of his own. He examined Dylan’s arm and about thirty minutes later he called us back in the examining room to go over the x-rays and what his findings were. “I don’t see any nerve damage, any broken bones, or anything at all wrong with his arm.” He explained to us. Dylan had been playing us the whole time. Right after that appointment, Dylan’s arm seemed to be miraculously healed. This little boy was quite an actor. We never had any more trouble with him or his arm afterwards.

Dylan was never potty-trained. We tried forever to get him to go on the toilet, but he just wouldn’t do it. They started to try to teach him at school also. We bought him pull-ups and would take him every half an hour, but, he just wouldn’t do it. We did this for about a year and finally we were having some success. He would come up to us and back his backside up to us and say “Let me check.” He did this because we would always say let me check when we wanted to check his diaper. He would tell the teachers at school, “Pew you stink, whenever he soiled his diaper.” They would tell him, “No, Dylan you stink,” and laugh about it.

We began to be able get him to go on the toilet once in a while. We were happy, because this was a start and we believed that we would finally be successful. Dylan was almost seven years old. He still drank out of a baby bottle and still wore diapers. It was getting expensive. We finally were able to get Medicaid to cover his diapers, but here we were on the verge of a great big breakthrough. We were convinced that he would be potty trained soon, and we wouldn’t need diapers or pull ups any longer. It had been a long journey, but, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then on April 18th 2010, on my wife’s birthday. It was a Sunday. I told Terri that she could sleep in and that I would take care of Dylan. Dylan and I were watching one of his other favorite programs Diego. He was very excited because two of the characters on the program; two monkeys known as the Bo Bo brothers were on there and they were causing some havoc. Dylan was yelling, “Stop Bo Bo’s” which is what Diego and his pet jaguar was saying. The phone began to ring and I got up to answer it. Dylan was standing in front of the TV enjoying his cartoon. It was my mom. We started talking. I decided to go back in the living room to sit down. That’s when I found him. Dylan was face down on the floor moaning he was in the middle of a full blown grand mal seizure! It seemed as if all the blood drained from my body! I screamed, “OH MY GOD!!!!” I heard my mom yelling on the phone, “What’s wrong?” I threw the phone across the room and begin to yell for my wife! “TERRI WAKE UP DYLAN IS HAVING A SEIZURE!” He seized for what seemed an eternity. Terri came running down the stairs. “OH GOD CALL 911!” I ran and picked up the phone from across the floor my mom was still on there I quickly told her what was going on and she began to cry and hung up. I immediately called 911 and told them that my son was having a seizure! “PLEASE HURRY!” I shouted. The 911 operator was asking me a slew of questions that I sure as hell wasn’t worrying about answering right now. I wanted to just scoop Dylan up off the floor and hold him in my arms. The seizure had finally subsided and we awaited the paramedics……. (To be continued.)

The Real Superman Part VI

By Jeff King

The Real Superman Part VI

Dylan was a pretty amazing little boy. He was learning so much and could do so much, but we were learning from him as well. We learned patience, which is something I Sorely lacked. I finally understood what the meaning of unconditional love. How Dylan was and is the very meaning of that term.  We were watching the brain slowly developing right before our very eyes through this slow process that was going on in Dylan. I was already a compassionate person for people with disabilities. I believed myself to be the defender of the defenseless and I can still remember until this day when I was fourteen years old and me and two of my friends were walking up the street. About fifty yards ahead of us was a man probably in his early twenties. He was intellectually challenged, or what they called at the time mentally retarded. Such an ugly hateful word. This young man was walking along going about his business, not harming anyone when three older teenage boys begin to tease him. I heard them calling him hurtful names, like Retard, Freak, Mistake from God, Gimp, Idiot, and such ugly evil words. They were yelling this at this man. I was behind them while it was going on. The more they teased and laughed at him, the angrier I became. I started screaming, “Leave him the hell alone!” They just laughed and continued to harass this poor man, but what one of them did next, was the final thing I could handle. They had hemmed the poor man up against a sticker bush and one of the punks pushed him into them. I became enraged! I felt my adrenaline pumping inside me, I heard my heart beating in my ears and in a blind rage I ran up to the older teenagers and begin to push them into the sticker bushes! I started punching them and kicking them. There were three of them and they were bigger and older than me, but I didn’t care. My only concern was for the gentleman that they had been bullying and teasing. I let go of every ounce of my anger and let all three of them have it. By the time my two friends had caught up to us I had successfully beaten every one of those assholes up. We all helped the young man up who was now crying and visibly shaken! I asked him his name and he told me that everyone called him Happy Jack. Later on I found out that Jack was indeed his first name. As I got into my house later that evening, I started to cry myself. How could anyone be so cruel to such a sweet innocent being. The world we were living in was very sick and twisted.

I added this story because, when I look at Dylan, I can see the hate that people will have towards him. I can imagine the pain that he will have to endure at the hands of evil people like these teens were. After Dylan was born and it was determined that he was indeed intellectually challenged, that incident came back to me fresh as it had just happened. My question was would Dylan have a defender if he was ever in that situation? Who would be his voice? Who would be his fist if need be? I long realized that this world is full of cruel people that would harm him. It saddens me.

I made a vow that for as long as I live and as for long that there is a beat in my heart and a breath in my lungs that I would always be Dylan’s defender. I would not be alone, because my wife feels the same way and his two siblings have also stated the same thing.

This has also been a journey for my other two children as well. Growing up with a special needs brother hasn’t been easy on them. Throughout the years they have cut ties with friends who made fun of Dylan, my daughter also is like me when it comes to people with special needs; she is a defender of the defenseless. She has stood against hatred and teasing of other children by other children that she went to school with. It hasn’t been easy on them, but, they have learned to be champions for others and I am proud of them!

This journey that was chosen for us has been an incredible one. It wasn’t a road that we chose for ourselves, but if we had the chance to do it all over, I believe in my heart that Terri and I would choose to have Dylan again. I am a firm believer that God doesn’t make mistakes and although the universe has dealt us this hand, I believe when it is all said and done, we will come out holding Aces! (To Be Continued)

The Real Superman Part IV

The Real Superman Part IV

By Jeff King

Dylan began to learn how to talk, although most of his language was rote language, at least we knew he had a voice. Dylan still had a lot of difficulties. Around three years old he no longer qualified for the infant and toddler program, but thanks to Child Find he was enrolled in a special school, where he began to learn. His occupational and physical therapy continued through the school and they added speech services as well. It really helped Dylan significantly. He had a few behavior issues that used to be a concern to us. Dylan would bite himself and had self-injurious behaviors. The school also was concerned with these behaviors. Since Dylan qualified for Social Security and Medicaid we were able to get him several appointments at the Kennedy Krieger institute with a behavior specialist. The behavior specialist was able to successfully help us alter Dylan’s self-injurious behavior. We used a picture board and we helped the specialist design it. He had asked us what were Dylan’s favorite things and we told him that he absolutely loved SpongeBob Square Pants and these two toys that he had to carry with him everywhere. It was a cube that was made of some cloth-like material that had different animals on it, one side had a lion, one side had a bluefish, another side had a polar bear, another had a parrot hiding under a green leaf and another had the crescent moon on it. It had several rhymes on it and me, Terri, and my other two children still remember one of the rhymes to this day, “Yellow lion in the African sun, tickling your mane is really fun!” Leap Frog Melody Block. He also loves strawberry milk. The behavior specialist took this information and designed a token board which we used with Dylan to communicate with. He visited the specialist for six months and it actually worked, his self-injurious behaviors had ceased.

Dylan made leaps and bounds in school and at home. Over the next several years he learned his Alphabet, learned how to recognize his name, he was using picture boards to express his needs, or what he wanted. He could even say sentences like, “Want some Tea, want some milk, I’m hungry.” He learned some not so good words as well, but one of Dylan’s favorite things to do was sing. He loved to sing and he loved you to sing to him. He learned the words of Jesus Loves Me, On Top of Old Smokey, On Top of Spaghetti, It came Upon a Midnight Clear, Old Rattler, Old Dan Tucker, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and tons of others, He even learned the entire lyrics to a Buck Cherry song “Sorry” He had to hear this song whenever he got into the car.

Dylan started watching other cartoons as well. He loved Nickelodeon and his two favorite shows were Dora the Explorer and Diego. He picked up Spanish and could say so many Spanish words that we were amazed how smart he had become! Dylan also had a great sense of humor and would often make us all laugh. As we would sit at the table to eat dinner, Dylan would get up and walk around everyone and like some sort of Duck Duck Goose game he would touch everyone’s back or arm, and then when he had chosen who he wanted, would smack them in the back. I know it sounds like bad behavior, but, I would give anything to have him do that again. Dylan also liked to play with his siblings. He would actually play hide and seek with them and these crazy games that they made up, one was called amudify Don’t ask me this was a word that Dylan came up with my other son and my daughter would both sit on the floor and he would try to jump over each of them and yell “Amudafy!” He also liked a game that was called “plonsky”, also a word that he created. In this game he wanted one of his siblings to pick him up and toss him on his back onto the couch, bed, etc. He and his older brother made up a game called “Smack Smack” in this game he would smack my older son, but it wasn’t hard it was just like a tap on the head.

Dylan also used to like to get up at events that we attended, like my daughter’s 5th grade graduation from elementary school. He was sitting down quietly when suddenly he began to look around, he looked behind us and when he had spied the contestant he deemed worthy, he got up out of his chair and walked to the row of chairs behind us; there was this huge gentleman sitting there with his family and Dylan walked up to him and looked right in his face. I had to act quickly, because I wasn’t sure as to what he would do, but the gentleman just started laughing. I grabbed Dylan and told the man that I was sorry and he replied, “It’s cool man, he’s a cool little dude.” I thanked him and Dylan and I returned to our seats where my wife was waiting. We started laughing my wife said that Dylan was trying to intimidate the man. I busted out laughing. This little boy was too funny.

The reason that I’m including this in the blog is because I want to explain that Dylan lived pretty much a normal life. He loved to joke and kid around, he was smart, and he loved to go to the park. He loved to play with his siblings. This little boy has so much going for him. (To be continued)