It's not easy for parents to open up when their child is struggling with something, particularly a difficult medical diagnosis. It can feel like more than enough on your plate just getting through your day, trying to make sure you are always there for your child and helping them in every way you can. So it's pretty special when a celebrity like JWoww from Jersey Shore is willing to take time out of her busy life to shed a little light on a tough issue. Jenni 'JWoww' Farley shared an update on her son's autism diagnosis recently, and here's hoping it gives parents living in a similar situation a ray of hope.
Back in November, the Jersey Shore star revealed that her 3-year-old son Greyson, who she shares with ex-husband Roger Matthews along with the couple's 5-year-old daughter Meilani, was diagnosed with autism. At the time, Farley shared the news via an emotional Instagram post that read in part, "Grey was recently diagnosed with autism. He’s also been in early intervention for over 6 months now and doing amazing. Grey is and will always be my little prince."
She noted in an interview with Hollywood Life that she had already begun to manage his diagnosis in ways that would help him develop, telling the media outlet, "He has co-therapies [every] week but we’re going to step it up a notch soon and get him ABA [applied behavior analysis] treatments, speech therapy. He’s made leaps and bounds when it comes to speech."
Clearly those steps have been helping little Greyson, because eight months later Farley told Entertainment Tonight that she is seeing a huge improvement.
"It's like, a four-part diagnosing at the hospital, and at that point I was OK with it, and I just wanted to get to where I am today, where he went from non-verbal, not even knowing his name, to today, where he's attempting full sentences," she told Entertainment Tonight. "He has a personality — he's really just leaps and bounds. He's come so far with all his therapies and stuff."
Farley also noted that her son has hit an especially exciting milestone; she told People back in March that Grayson has been enrolled in half-day preschool so that he can start to hang out with his peers. "Half days, so he's still doing therapy in the afternoon," she shared with the magazine. "But I really want him around 3-year-olds, at summer camp, where he’s learning how to swim and ride horses and just really experience everyday life with children his age. I feel like he’ll feed off them and learn from them and grow from them."
According to Autism Speaks, 1 out of every 59 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism. That's a pretty high number, and Farley is trying to be as open as she can be about Grayson's autism diagnosis in an effort to spread awareness. And as she told Entertainment Tonight she plans on using her social media platform of 7 million followers to help end the stigma surrounding autism.
"That's my biggest thing that I want to do right now, because there is such a big stigma, but there's also a big population of kids getting diagnosed," she told the news outlet. "I just want to make the world a little less harsh and more sweet, so when he goes to school there will be less critics and more people that want to help and understand what it's like to have autism."
Sharing updates on her son's progress is an act of beautiful generosity on Farley's part, as is her positivity. Because the more people talk about it, the less alone parents feel within their diagnosis. And isn't that what matters?