Matthew is 11 1/2 years old and diagnosed with non-verbal autism. He has been aggressive and violent and not able to sleep since he was a toddler. He has been at different schools and many doctors and until I got involved with Jack’s Kids he did not progress and the outlook was dark. I lost my job in 2009 and got a divorce shortly after. My ex-husband was not interested in my son and his disability and support from him has been weak. I contacted Jack’s Kids because I wanted to bring him to the NJ Autism Think Tank which would give me access to some very top doctors but the price made it impossible. From the very first call to Jack’s Kids, things moved fast! We got the funds to go to this Think Tank and found out from that experience that Matthew actually has 2 genetic mutations that are certainly causing his autistic behavior. Violence and sleep disorders are common with these mutations so it answered so many questions I had. He started some new medicines and has done so well. I continue to get financial aid during this very stressful time from Jack’s Kids as well as emotional support and friendship. I was able to build up my strength again and put my efforts into getting Matthew into the best school for him and to find part-time work. Four years later we are in a better place and I am forever grateful to Jack’s Kids and the amazing people who devote their time and energy to those of us with disabled children. Getting financial help and emotional support during my darkest days has made all the difference and Hope is with me once again and my son is doing well. I truly believe I would not be in such a good place now without the help of this special program.
Matthew has been at his new school, Eden School, for 18 months now and he is doing very well! He had a reduction in aggressive and self-injury from about 600 episodes a day to under 10! He wears underwear and is 95% toilet trained. He uses an iPad to communicate and is getting better at this. He just came home from Camp Moore and when I picked him up he saw me, started to cry and run away! He didn’t want to leave! 6 nights at this camp was a huge success. I believe all this success comes from finding the right medicines and from me, his mom, finding more courage and strength for this journey. And this comes directly from the amazing donations and support from Jack’s Kids! I am working part-time and although I am not still not able to totally support myself and my boys, I am relying much less on my father. Matthew is on good medicine and in a good mood and the future for both of us feels bright enough for sunglasses these days!