Duke K.

Condition: ADHD, OCD, Tourettes Syndrome, High Functioning Autism
City, State: Redmond, WA
Club: Seattle University Sparrow Club Service Hours:
Date Adopted: 12/01/2014

Duke's Story:

From Duke's Parents:
We were introduced to Duke’s birthmother after several months of working with her sister who was appointed as her guardian and dealing with a complicated adoption process due to Duke’s birthmother suffering from a brain injury early in her pregnancy. This birthmother spent her entire pregnancy in the hospital, heavily medicated and as a result Duke was born dependent to these meds! Before we brought him home we were trained on how and when to administer the meds to wean him off; we were told and shown through literature that Duke could suffer with learning and or behavioral issues in his future.
There were challenges right from the beginning with not being able to sleep at night, screaming for no apparent reason, intestinal issues and one of the worst was that we had to make sure we were home by 5pm or else!!! He just could not be consoled! We felt an immense tension due to him always being hyper and overly active, never being able to stimulate him enough in order to satisfy his physical and emotional needs! On top of this at around thirteen months we noticed he started to line objects up perfectly and his hoarding objects started mainly from our recycle bin; egg cartons, diaper boxes and later, glass bottles.
Duke’s unusual behaviors continued with pre-school; being VERY stressful; thank GOD he had an amazing teacher and we worked in the class as well with it being a CO-OP school. She really helped us through the first year of school with him but unfortunately down played his issues probably in hopes that he would grow out of some of his challenges! It didn’t happen and only got worse! Upon entering Kindergarten, we were asked to have him seen and diagnosed in order to obtain an IEP (individualized education plan) to gain special services to aid him in his future education.
We took Duke to Children’s Hospital to have him seen and through the process we were told that our son had; ADHD with hyper activity, OCD, Tourette’s and oppositional disorder. The once a week for us to see a psychologist and meds began. So for about two and a half years we went through numerous med changes because the typical meds weren’t working! We had Duke put on a waiting list to be seen by the Children’s Autism center as well and it took nearly two years to be seen and evaluated. Duke’s findings were that he is on the spectrum and is High Functioning. At this point we were wondering what else could this child possibly have and how do we deal with all of it!
Since Duke was five years of age, he has been through over a dozen meds and dosage changes and because of this he has suffered with horrible side effects such as: Nausea, throwing up, headaches, severe hyperness, severe lethargy, suicidal, aggression, psychical and verbal ticks worsening, lack of focus, lack of care for self and others and the list goes on! It has been so devastating at times we just want to discontinue everything and hope for the best but we, at our core, know to help him is to persevere; sticking with the meds and follow through with his Doctors expert guidance!
At this time, Duke has four doctors that he sees regularly: a neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist and a doctor at the Autism Center. Duke is taking four different meds administered throughout the day and is currently in a good place with them. As soon as his meds can hold him for a sufficient amount of time, his psychiatrist will give us the go-ahead to have him introduced to behavior therapy (ABA) for children on the Spectrum and Tourette’s Therapy. As you can see Duke’s issues can seem like a full time job in itself and we are trying so hard to get Duke everything he needs while he is young in hopes of making his adult life less difficult and more manageable for him.
With all this said our son is a: lovable, kind, FUN, curious, intelligent and a talented little boy! He is currently in his fourth year of Karate moving up to his Master Brown Belt next month. Duke’s first love, skateboarding, is a sport he practices almost every day for an hour and a half up to several hours and has been doing so for three years now. He is very talented at this and wants very much to be the “Best Skateboarder in the World some day!” Since he is very curious, he holds many interests: Legos (Star Wars), All Ball Sports: tennis, football, basketball and baseball, making jewelry, painting, collecting: crystals, rocks and gem stones and being near or in any body of water and oh, TRAINS!!!!
As you can see, Duke is a very interesting person and we believe he is capable of doing great things now and when he grows up unfortunately with his growing awareness of his disorders that separate him from most other children; it leaves him feeling left out looking at what other children are doing and feeling sad! This is tough, being so different but our prayers are that when he becomes an adult, he will realize how great it is to be so unique! Anybody can be ordinary!