Meet Jacey, a creative 9 year old girl that was diagnosed with autism at 2.5 years old. Jacey has participated in Faces of Autism since the beginning and it has been so amazing watching her grow! I had the pleasure of hearing a few of her hilarious jokes during this session! To read last year’s story on Jacey, click HERE.
In the past year Jacey has been involved in horse therapy at TR 4 Heart & Soul, her and her family absolutely love it. Jacey continuing with ATA Karate and is going to try volleyball and lacrosse this year.
Jacey has an amazing sense of humor and a wonderful vocabulary. She really enjoys arts and crafts and is very creative. Like most kids her age, Jacey also loves Minecraft, the Nintendo Switch and the iPad.
One of the things Jacey struggles with is getting her thoughts out in an organized manner and as fast as her peers. She sometimes struggles with navigating peer relationships, but her family is very thankful to all of the people who support her.
Jacey’s parent’s about the highlights of raising a child with autism “We absolutely love Jacey’s personality and sense of humor, she has so much character and keeps us on our toes! We love her uniqueness and always hope that she will be strong and confident in who she is.”
Some of the unique challenges they have experienced include helping Jacey navigate friendship with peers and helping her tolerate the speed that life expects us all to move. As well as guiding her to understand that autism doesn't mean anything bad, it is a part of who she is and one of the many things that make her think differently, see things differently, stand out, and unique.
About their autism journey with Jacey her parent’s have this to say “We just wish everyone had the same access to services that we have had. Jacey has accomplished so much and grown immensely from the little girl that was barely talking or engaging with others to who she is today. We would love to take credit, but we would not be where we are today without all of the wonderful people who are in her life. We are so thankful for Marisa Misek, all of our Anne Carlsen staff, the Enrichment Gardens staff, Katie Brock Oakland and the volunteers at TR4HAS, Erik Powell at ATA Karate, family and friends, the excellent teachers and staff at Roosevelt Elementary in Mandan. This journey is a very tough and confusing one at times, but with the right support it is so much more successful!! When we began this experience we were very lost and without all the people listed above to navigate I couldn't imagine how we would have gotten to where we are today.”
Jacey often wishes people would give her time to get her thoughts out. She hopes that her peers are understanding of her choices that are made in moments of frustration or being overwhelmed. She is a very bright and hilarious little girl, and, even though it may take a moment to organize her thoughts, she knows and understands everything.
Some of the things Jacey’s parents suggest if you would like to support and individual on the spectrum and their family “Being open, understanding, and patient means the world to all of us. This is an experience that cannot be done alone, it really takes a village and we are so thankful for everyone in our village.”
If you suspect your child has autism, Jacey’s parents give this advice “It is a very tough thing to think about and it will keep you up at night, but if you suspect something please just go through screenings. The sooner you can begin interventions the better it is for everyone. We saw dramatic improvements when we began understanding her sensory needs and providing her with an outlet for those needs. While it is scary, it is very frustrating for the child, don't be scared to find out.”
Jacey’s parent’s would also like to thank Bisman Autism families for all they do. They are so thankful for your hard work and support.