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Cayden Causey isn’t just spinning his wheels



Cayden Causey with one of his motorized designs (photo courtesy of L. Causey)
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April has been nationally recognized as “Autism Awareness Month” since 2011. This year, the Autism Society of America, along with leading disability organizations across the country, is announcing that it is formally shifting it to “Autism Acceptance Month” and is calling on the media to reflect this to match the growing need for acceptance of those individuals on the autism spectrum. 

When LouAnn and Monte Causey put their baby boy, Cayden, in his bouncer seat they never knew it was possible to rock hard enough to catch air.  The Causeys just thought they had an especially strong little boy and moved the bouncer from the coffee table to the floor. 

As Cayden got older, the rocking continued even after he had learned to walk.  LouAnn had also begun noticing other tendencies or “quirks” that began to concern her.  

Cayden lining up his cars and trucks in specific rows
(photo courtesy of L. Causey)

“He was happy as he could be just playing by himself for hours.  He focused on lining his toys up by color, shape, and size. And if it had anything to do with wheels or Mickey Mouse, Cayden was mesmerized,” she said. 

LouAnn said it was around that time that she began thinking her little boy could be on the Austism Spectrum, but Cayden’s dad was still insistent that there was nothing wrong with his beloved son.

Cayden as a baby fascinated with wheels
(photo courtesy of L. Causey)

LouAnn said, “His dad didn’t want to hear it.  Refused to even talk about it.”  It would be a couple of years before Monte finally allowed the subject of a possible autism diagnosis to be broached.

The Causeys said Cayden was around 3-years-old before he began speaking, and they had already enlisted the help of a certified speech therapist. The professional visited Cayden regularly for his therapy, even going to his daycare for the last two years before Cayden began school.

Cayden at preschool where he first began showing signs of advanced ability
(photo by L. Causey)

When Cayden entered public school kindergarten, his parents say he was already advanced in areas of academics.  His mother said, “He went to an excellent daycare (Loving Hearts Learning Center) and his teacher, Ms. Penny (Daffron) had already taught him so much. So he was a bit ahead of the others academically.”

LouAnn said Cayden’s autism affects him socially for the most part. 

“He is very socially awkward. For instance, instead of meeting a friend naturally he’ll approach  another child on a playground and holler, ‘Hey! Hey Boy! You want to play with me?’”

Cayden also displays other classic characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome, such as an almost-obsessive interest in one or two subjects and being very advanced in areas of science, technology and mathematics.  

The Causeys say Cayden has always had a fascination with spinning wheels and numbers.  “We recognized his love of wheels when, as a baby, we’d go for walks outside and he would manage to find some wheels to spin. We didn’t realize his exceptional math capabilities until mid-2nd grade,” LouAnn recalled.

Out on walks, Cayden would somehow find wheels to play with
(photo by L. Causey)

Cayden with his biggest fan, his mom
(photo by L. Causey)

She said Cayden’s teacher was certain that they (his parents) were doing his math homework for him because he never showed his work.  The teacher gave him a worksheet in class one day and asked Cayden to complete it in front of her and explain how he did it.  LouAnn recalled the teacher telling her that she (the teacher) took it home to her husband who is an engineer at ERDC and asked the engineer to explain how the child could’ve solved the problems in his head.  The teacher told the Causeys that she and her husband were baffled.  

LouAnn continued, “During the end of his second grade year at Dana Road, the teacher came up to me and explained that Vicksburg Intermediate would probably not be a good fit for Cayden. She suggested that with his advanced math skills, we should look into a place that would allow him to learn at his own pace.  That’s when we found Agape Montessori.  He is very happy there and is allowed to be his genuine self.  He has made friends and the teachers have become friends to me.”

The Causeys are obviously incredibly proud of their son, and they work together to allow Cayden every possible opportunity to reach his full potential and still create “normal” childhood memories.

Cayden and his dad, Monte
(photo by L. Causey)

When asked what she would like others to know about her son and other kids on the Autism Spectrum, LouAnn said, “Just like anyone else, autisic kids have their own way of looking at the world and figuring things out around them.  It may not be the most popular or common way of doing things, but as long as they arrive at the correct answers…what does it matter?”


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