Jackson is our 3rd child, since his birth we have faced unique challenges that we never experienced with our older two children. Like all babies Jackson didn’t sleep well at night, this wasn’t new to us, however he would cry inconsolable for hours at night, it was so difficult. While mom was breastfeeding him she went on an elimination diet to see if he had food intolerances. We found he was sensitive to a lot of foods. As he began to eat solid foods we found he had true food allergies not just sensitivities.
He was meeting his milestones at 12 months then he seemed to revert backwards. He had a lot of balance issues and the pediatrician ordered an MRI of his brain, that was a scary few weeks for us, but thankfully the MRI came back normal. We contacted Help Me Grow thinking he just needed some speech therapy, and they noticed more sensory challenges with him and assigned us a wonderful OT.
We have been working with her since March, and have started the Play project. He was diagnosed with Autism in September, although we in a way expected the diagnosis, it was and still is really hard to hear and process in our minds. The services with Help Me Grow continue and we are adding in Speech Therapy and have seen a Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapist did not feel it necessary to see him regularly, but recommended we get play equipment like this to help him improve and develop. All the appointments and therapy has been a bit of a struggle to navigate as we continue.
We began to experience financial struggles. Mom noticed during maternity leave that it would be difficult for her to go back to work with all Jackson’s needs, so she started applying for work from home positions. She now works 4 ten-hour days from home and goes into an office once a week with a different company. With her job it’s not possible for her to care for Jackson while working, so as a family, we decided I would stay home to be his primary caregiver. This has been such a blessing for us to be home and able to care for him, but it also has been difficult financially with only one income.
We exist in kind of a gray area where we make enough money that we do not qualify for Medicaid and many of the programs related to low income families, but we continue to see our bank accounts diminish due to the continued rise of every aspect of the cost of living. We need to continue to care for Jackson and get him the support he needs even though we can’t see yet how we will afford it going forward. He is a happy two year old that loves to climb, run, and explore and we hope we can start to get the programs and things in place so he can grow up to be a happy and healthy young man.
We reached out to Avenues for Autism for help in his development. We received assistance from the Suzanne Tyner Autism Assistance Fund to purchase sensory equipment. Jackson has grown so much since using the equipment. He’s become stronger and more balanced. He has so much fun playing with the equipment and sharing the fun with his siblings. Thank you Avenues for Autism for helping us provide opportunities to enhance his growth and make him successful.
Story provided by: Matt (Jackson’s Dad)