Cristen Grooms knew something wasn’t right from the time her son Jaxon was 6 months old. Born with a rare gene defect called ATP6AP1, he was a complicated case from his early days, suffering from really high fevers as a baby. He had his first seizure at 10 months old, and it was just prior to that, she started to suspect that he may be autistic. The classic signs were there: not making eye contact with most people, lining up his toys obsessively, and couldn’t stand loud noises. She tried to push for testing but his doctors thought her concerns were perhaps a ramification of him being so sick and were reluctant to offer an autism diagnosis.
But mommas know their babies. Cristen was also a Registered Nurse, so she armed herself with critical research and copious notes, knowing that early intervention would be critical for Jaxon. After months of bugging numerous doctors pleading her case and witnessing his sudden loss of speech, Jaxon was officially diagnosed with Autism at age 2 and their journey began.
Jaxon was diagnosed in 2011 when support for autism wasn’t widely available. Cristen often felt alone and desperately wished for more support, discussion groups, and information to be able to help her son. And in the midst of that, she was also grappling with her own very real feelings of grief, self-blame, and worry about his future – what would his “normal” look like as he got older? As Jaxon has gotten older, she’s started to find pockets of support, which has helped her be the very best advocate for her child. Yet there are still constant battles to ensure his accommodations are being met at school, play date and party struggles now that he’s in 7th grade, and that he’s a little behind socially. However, because of early interventions and in spite of fears that he would always be in special education and never live on his own, Jaxon is a THRIVING and chatty 13 year old.
As You Are and this strong momma above recognize that early diagnosis and intervention is key when it comes to an autism diagnosis. What many parents find when they suspect their child may have autism is that waitlists are LONG and the specialists may not be geographically available to their family. As You Are is working to transform that process via telehealth appointments, available to families with children ages 16 months to 10 years old. And even better, they accept insurance, including Medicare and TRICARE East.
The process couldn’t be simpler to schedule an appointment with a Board Certified physician at As You Are. You simply login here and provide family history, development information, and other health history using their online form. From there you will schedule the first of three appointments with your dedicated physician. At your third telehealth appointment, your physician will share the diagnosis so your child can start getting the care he/she needs.
Cristen advocated hard for her child because she KNEW that early intervention could change Jaxon’s life. As You Are can provide a diagnosis for your family in just weeks, instead of months or years of waiting on a long list, only made worse by the pandemic. Your child’s brain is more malleable in early years, making an early diagnosis even more critical. And as most parents know, we can deal with almost anything, if we know what we are dealing with. An autism diagnosis, while initially scary and full of unknowns, can ultimately set your child up to receive the specialized care they so desperately need.
The process can seem overwhelming but As You Are is here to help you every step of the way. To find out if a virtual diagnosis may be appropriate for your family, go here for helpful tips from their team. If you are ready to proceed, you can easily schedule your evaluation online now.
Cristen wants parents of a child with autism to keep going and to keep fighting. YOU know your child best and no one can set limits for what your child will accomplish in life. We are cheering you and your entire family on, Jaxon! Keep soaring.
>>> Find more hope here: What I’ve Learned from my Son Who has Autism <<<
“But he has taught me not to let those fears get in the way of living in the moment.
He’s taught me he has milestones.
He has moments.
And, in order to enjoy them, I can’t be afraid to be his mom because I might do something wrong.
I have to be present.
I can’t miss those moments.
It’s the choice he has taught me I have.”
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