Today's Spotlight is from Jane Gray from the Kepsup by mammajane shop on Etsy. She is a seller on Etsy I had the pleasure of meeting while I was putting together our Autism Awareness Giveaway. I love her son Mason's story!
I am Jane Gray and I have an amazing son Mason, who was diagnosed with Autism PDD/NOS at 2 1/2 years old. We saw a bright baby turn into himself, start repetitive behavior and his vocabulary disappear when he was about 18 months old. We moved to St. Louis when he was about 2 and our journey thru his diagnosis process began. I wasn't aware of Autism and such diagnosis when I was growing up so when my son, my baby boy became a "child with special needs" I lost it for about a week, I cried until tears wouldn't fall and blamed myself for his pregnancy being difficult. Did I do something wrong? Did I eat the wrong way, did I take something to cause this? My first pregnancy with my daughter was text book, was this my fault? Did I have my children too close together? Nobody had any answers so I became an expert for my son. I read and researched until I was wiped out and I would get up the next day and start it all again. When he was diagnosed we started Mason in a early education program. He loved his classes and his teachers were awesome. We weren't satisfied with just an Autism PDD/NOS diagnosis because I could see and his teachers would tell me that he was having a hard time with communication and understanding what was asked of him. This began our hunt for something better and a more definitive diagnosis. This took years and several trips to doctors, alternative treatments all over the United States. If we felt like it would help, we tried it. We finally came across The Center for Speech and Language Disorders in Illinois not far from Chicago. It took 2 long days of extensive testing and the center nailed it. He has Hyperlexia, Expressive and Receptive Language Disorder. When we sat down with his teachers and aids we had to teach the teachers about Hyperlexia (they had to go by the State Diagnosis), the wonderful thing was they were willing to research and come up with a plan for our son Mason. I have to mention that for the most part Mason had a wonderful support system in Parkway School District in Chesterfield, MO.
My sons gift, because all Autistic children have a gift from God, is his ability to work computers and anything with art. He has been a true artist since he has been able to hold a crayon. Mason Graduated High School with Honors in Art and a 3.0 GPA. As a parent we want what is best for our children and I would have turned the world up side down to get the help my son needed. He is an amazing young adult and will be 19 in the end of April. He has his difficulties with friendships and filtering what he says sometimes but that will always be a work in progress. He is currently a student at The Art Institute of St. Louis getting his bachelors in Computer Graphics and Design. Because we had his diagnosis at an early age and got him the help he can now sit through the 5 hour classes every day, I'm so proud of him (tears come to my eyes).
We need as parents to raise more awareness for this disability (I hate that word) because the diagnosis of Autism affects 1 out of every 70 children, mostly boys. It's become an epidemic and every school aged child will have a child in there classroom sometime in there school career. The more other children and parents are educated the easier it will be for our children.
I make and sell these Autism steering wheel covers to help spread awareness and pride that we have this amazing children. I use mine and look at it like the parents who have a soccer ball posted on the rear window. We are proud and we like to show it :)
Jane has donated a steering wheel cover and a matching keychain to one very lucky reader! Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
I would like to give a special thanks to Jane for sharing her son's story, and for the generous donation to our giveaway!