Everyday activities can be challenging for people with certain conditions. Spending three days with new people was a milestone for Hayden, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was two. After taking part in an oxytocin trial at the Brain and Mind Centre, Hayden and his family are celebrating more milestones every day.
Hayden was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was two years old. He was trapped in his own world and unable to communicate. His mum Christine spent years trying behavioural and speech therapy, special diets and an array of medications. However nothing made a difference. Christine began to accept that little could be done to help her son participate in everyday life.
“Hayden thought he was an island. He didn’t want to be in a group or participate, he wouldn’t even sit down in a circle. Everyone thought he was either strange or naughty,” explains Christine.
Therapy was slow and painful. Christine felt as though it was getting nowhere. “Even a small transition or change in activity would result in a tantrum. He didn’t trust me or anyone trying to help him.”
Christine took it upon herself to research autism and find information on the latest treatments. After contacting multiple paediatricians, she was directed to the Brain and Mind Centre. It was there she was told about a new trial for autistic children. It seemed manageable for Christine and was tailored to her son’s individual needs.
The Brain and Mind Centre trial was a turning point in Hayden’s life. The oxytocin hormone was the focus of the study and Hayden responded very well to it.
“It was the first time Hayden was really able to engage and became aware that he was not the only person in the room,” explains Christine. “When he knocks things over, he will say ‘oops’ and fix them, whereas before he had tunnel vision and wouldn’t have even noticed.”
Hayden’s engagement and communication with his family and peers continues to improve. And Christine is learning more about her son every day. “I had no idea that Hayden was aware of his surroundings until he started saying things like, ‘Oh, I like that car’,” says Christine. “When he said ‘I hate you’ for the first time I popped champagne because it was the first time he was able to express his emotions in context.”
This Brain and Mind Centre treatment has enabled Hayden to make friends, sit quietly and learn new things at school. He reaches new milestones all the time and often surprises the people around him. Recently he was even able to go on camp by himself for three nights.
“The changes I saw from the trial completely changed the way that Hayden engaged. He wanted to be a part of a group, he didn’t fight and his language and social skills improved,” says Christine.
Autism is a lifelong neurological developmental condition that affects the way an individual relates to their environment. Individuals with autism have difficulty with communication, social interaction and have restricted or repetitive behaviors and interests. Currently there is no cure, but the Brain and Mind Centre offers manageable solutions.
The changes I saw from the Brain and Mind Centre trial completely changed the way that Hayden engaged. He wanted to be a part of a group, he didn’t fight and his language and social skills improved.