Friday, 9 September 2011

Adam Robert Bartlettt Campbell

I got pregnant when I was almost 18. I got married to Alan, he joined the military, and our first born child was born on February 16th, 1990. His name is Adam Robert Bartlett Campbell. The name Robert was taken from Alan's brother Rob as well as his maternal Grandfather. Bartlett was my maternal Grandfather's middle name as well as his mother's maiden name.

When Adam was very young (1 or 2) his behavior and vocabulary was lacking by comparison to the "average" children his age. Honestly, I blamed myself. I thought at the time it was something I wasn't doing as a parent. A failing on my own teachings of my child.

When Adam was about 18 months old we had Jessy, and by the time she turned a year, her speech far exceeded Adam's. So much so, she would speak for them both "Adam wants a drink", "Adam doesn't want 'that' he wants 'that'", etc.

Alan's mother Pat had a friend who was a special education teacher, her name was Judy and to be truthful I didn't like Judy at the time. I found her to be intrusive and could be very overbearing. She sat Alan and I down one day and told us she felt that Adam was autistic. I remember feeling outraged with her "diagnosis". I felt she didn't like me and this was just her way of "sticking it to me". Of course I was completely wrong, but I was young and didn't even think about this at the time. I'm not sure truthfully, why...I guess probably because every parent wants to think of their child as "perfect". And if he were to be diagnosed as autistic...that "perfect" child image and dream would be shattered. Right? How naive I was back then.

Just before Adam began school, our family doctor thought perhaps he was hard of hearing. His speech was still lacking, and the doctor had concerns about his behavior. So we had his hearing tested which had complications all of it's own. The doctor assured us Adam was not hard of hearing or deaf however during the testing the doctor had other concerns and gave us a referral to yet another doctor.

The new doctor did; over several appointments; behavioral, IQ and other tests with Adam. When she came to her diagnosis she asked me to come to her office. I didn't care for her from the get go, and to be honest, I don't think she liked me much either. I sat in her office and she informed me that in her "professional opinion" Adam was "a retard". I remember I blinked a couple of times, digesting the words she had just used to describe my son and to relay her "diagnosis". I honestly wasn't sure I'd heard her correctly at first, and then when I realized that I had indeed heard her, I told her I thought it best that she leave before I did or said something I'd regret later and that I was sorry for her wasting my time. Her lack of professionalism had hit my maximum limit and I had had enough.

Adam began school, the school gave him an educational assistant and once again we set out on the path of finding someone who could help our son.

That help came in the form of two doctors. Dr. Diane Arthur and Dr. Arthur Fraise. They were a clinical psychologist team that specialized in working with children at Queen's University in Kingston. At first they thought perhaps Adam had something called "Fragile X Syndrome" but upon further testing they came to the conclusion that in fact Adam had Asperger's Syndrome.

Asperger's Syndrome is within the autism spectrum. Adam is considered "high functioning". In fact, even though his classes were marginally altered, he graduated from high school with honours.

Adam will be 22 in February, he has his quirks. He talks to himself pretty much constantly, his 'maturity' (what interests him) level is about that of a 14 - 16 year old. He has times where he becomes hyper focused on things. Some are fine, other things he can become obsessed with. There have been more than a few occasions where he will be literally up for days because he has become obsessed with something that has him truly terrified that most of us wouldn't even give a second thought to (2012 end of the world, Large Hydron Collider creating a black hole and imploding the world - stuff like that) but then the cycle spins around and everything is fine again for another 8 months or so.

It's funny when Adam was so young, I remember being so angry that Judy would "dare" tell me that my son wasn't "perfect". I've come to learn him being an "Aspie" isn't all of what he is. It's just a small part of who he is, there's far more to Adam than that. He is smart, incredibly intelligent, very funny, caring, well behaved, loving and sweet. Sounds pretty perfect to me...

One Last Glimpse,



  1. He IS perfect! Auntie Rach says so! I feel sorry for people who don't know Adam yet... he is bursting with potential of the creative nature and is one of the kind hearted people I've known. My daughter Ava was VERY shy at one point and I will NEVER forget last Christmas as she was messing around with an arcade type game at Kendras. Adam went over and showed her - very quietly - how to do it. I had to do a double take of her with Adam behind her ... towering over her... showing her how to play. She was as at ease as she would be with her own parent. You can't fool kids!

  2. He sounds like a wonderful and beautiful person -- with wonderful and beautiful parents.