Meet Kam H.

Kam H., 8

He’s such a sweet kid and really loves to learn, which makes school and going to speech therapy even easier and fun for him and everybody helping him.
Kam and Keenan

8-year-old Kam prepares for the upcoming school year with a strong support system and continuous work inside and outside of the classroom.

Hi, my name is Keenan, and I’d like to introduce my son, Kamron to the Autism Speaks community. Kam, as we call him, recently celebrated his birthday in June and we (mom, dad, family and friends) couldn’t be prouder of him. 

Kam was diagnosed at the age of 3 with autism and echolalia. At an early age he knew the ENTIRE alphabet and his numbers 1-20. At the age of 2, I noticed his learning development pretty much came to a halt and he would just repeat a lot of things that were told to him. When he was diagnosed, the next 48 hours were terrifying. As a parent who was new to the autism spectrum world, I didn’t know what this meant for him or for us as parents moving forward. But what we learned was there’s still a place in this world for him and others on the autism spectrum.  

He loves pizza, basketball (LeBron James is his favorite player), playing outside, and being around his l'il sister. His reading skills have really taken a leap forward during this past school year, which is a testament to his effort and love for learning new things. Every day is something new and we are extremely proud of him and excited about what the future holds. 

Hear more about Kam’s journey through the eyes of his dad in this Spectrum Spotlight Q&A: 

In your experience, how important are early intervention services? How have those services positively impacted Kam’s life?  

They are extremely important, and the earlier the better. Kam has been in speech therapy since the age of 4 and though we have a ways to go, I definitely see progress every day and with every school year that passes. It helps his confidence as well when it comes to reading. 

Kam smiling on the couch

Did you realize something was different about Kam before his diagnosis? If so, please share some of your experiences and how the diagnosis came about. 

Kam knew his ABC’s and numbers 1-15 at an early age, and can recognize different animals, items etc. But at 2 years old, I noticed it stopped there. You shouldn’t compare kids to other kids, but I noticed his speech wasn’t on the same level as some of his peers. He would only speak to us by saying one or two words and not in complete sentences. He would repeat what he hears over and over. Or if his mom and I would talk to him, he would just repeat it back to us and not actually attempt to answer the question. All of those things caught my attention, which led to him being tested and diagnosed. 

What were your initial thoughts when you first received your son’s diagnosis? 

I remember the next 48 hours being a state of confusion for me. I had so many things already mapped out for my kid and then hearing he was autistic had me immediately questioning if he would ever be able to do certain things in life. I was concerned for his safety as well. The world can be a cruel place and I worried for him. Communication is obviously so important in anything we do: business, relationships, life in general. And that’s the area where he struggles. But my love never changed for him. If anything, I locked in even more as a dad.  

Tell us about some of the struggles he faces because of his autism.  

Most struggles are connected to him being able to communicate his thoughts. He’s doing so well in reading, but comprehension is the biggest challenge. We hope the upcoming school year will only help Kam grow even more in this area.  

Kam smiling and wearing a backpack

How has he learned to communicate and how has that improved since his initial diagnosis?  

One thing I noticed as he’s gotten older and put in work at school, with his speech therapist and at home with us, is that his communication is getting better and better. He still repeats himself sometimes, but as far as talking in sentences, he has gotten much better.  

What are some of Kam’s biggest strengths? 

His biggest strength is his contagious loving energy that he wakes up with every day. He’s such a sweet kid and really loves to learn, which makes school and going to speech therapy even easier and fun for him and everybody helping him. 

What advice would you give to other parents who have a child/children on the spectrum? 

Some advice I would give to parents is don’t be afraid of the journey that comes with an autism diagnosis. I look at it as if I was meant to be a parent of a kid with autism. It’s not for the weak. It can be challenging but very rewarding. I enjoy reading, so naturally I turned to books for some help on what was to come. Educate yourself if you are unfamiliar with it like we were.  

What is your connection to Autism Speaks and how have they provided support to you and your family?  

I just love the light they shine on kids and people on the spectrum whether it’s on the website, social media or in the public eye. They do a great job showing that people with autism are no different than anyone else. The world should always be reminded of that and understand that when they encounter kids and adults with autism.  

What are your hopes for Kam’s future? 

My hope for Kam’s future is that he’s accepted for who he is no matter where he is.  

What strategies do you use to help prepare Kam for the new school year? What are some of the biggest challenges with transitioning into a new school year? 

Kam smiling

Kam reads every day in the summer. Nothing too strenuous, just to keep him fresh. I really loved the leap he took this past school year with his reading. The biggest challenge for third grade is that this is the year where he switches classrooms. I just hope he isn’t too overwhelmed or doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. But his current school has been so helpful with him that I’m sure he’ll be okay. We just have to prepare as much as we can prior to the start of the year and take any challenges as they come.  

What advice would you give to other parents with children on the spectrum who are entering a new phase in school? 

Advice for parents entering a new phase in school is to just be involved. Let the principal and teachers know you are available and present.  

The story shared above represents the experience, views and perspectives of the individual(s) highlighted. We aim to share stories across the spectrum and throughout the life span, but the information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals.