“Jaden’s Voice, Terri’s Heart”
Some may have sought refuge upon the news. Others may have fallen apart somewhere in their sadness at the diagnosis. Most would self-blame in silence with an echoing cry of “Why me? Why us?” when the realization of having an autistic child sets in.
Terri Matthews may well have experienced any number of those emotional reactions when her baby boy Jaden was diagnosed with autism six months after his second birthday, his language-development and potty-training delays having already confirmed her inner questions.
But she gathered herself, summoned that native strength with which only mothers are endowed, and set upon a course of ultimate purpose: Finding Jaden’s voice–figuratively and literally.
Though now recognized as the fastest-growing developmental disability globally, autism is, by all accounts, a medical phenomenon (some say mystery) still in its infancy; so much is yet unknown about the disorder–namely what causes it and why it affects some and not others. What is to blame? The environment? Chemical/industrial pollution? Heredity? Genetics? Vaccine-derived inducement? These are all possibilities but none have been scientifically proven.
As more medical and scientific research seeks to answer these questions, Terri delved into all the information available to her and between her natural instincts, her senior executive corporate/business background, and her generous spirit, she founded Jaden’s Voice, a nonprofit foundation at the forefront of providing critically needed services to underserved families in the autism community.
“The biggest challenge for Jaden’s Voice and autism globally is a lack of support provided to underserved communities. By underserved, this does not necessarily mean families on welfare or unemployed,” Ms. Matthews clarifies. “It’s a greater spectrum. It’s military families, single-parent families, or families with multiple children who simply cannot afford the high costs of alternative treatments for an autistic child.
“The reason for this is because people are not as aware of autism as much as other childhood disabilities. The information is lacking because the condition is so new and therefore not prioritized.”
Jaden’s Voice Foundation consists of two distinct initiatives: Jaden Cares Program and Jaden’s Family Care Program. The Jaden Cares Program addresses the physical and support service needs of children and their families living with autism. Jaden’s Voice plans to establish a single location that offers services for sensory, occupational, and behavioral therapy while exploring the child’s gifts and talents in extra-curricular activities like art, music and sports.
The Jaden’s Family Care component of the Foundation will focus on providing advocacy, outreach services, such as parent-developed and -led support groups and educational opportunities to better equip those individuals who have the responsibility of raising a child with autism. By sponsoring a variety of community events, Jaden’s Family Care will increase awareness of autism and the programs we offer to children and their families.
On their unique journey, Terri shares, “My son Jaden has been a role model to me. I thought I knew what unconditional love was but he truly taught me how to love. He taught me patience and not to be judgmental of others.”
And you’ve reminded us, Terri, of the true meaning of Pamper-Her-Friday as we honor your grace, humility, and generosity in sharing your life’s work with countless others who can look to Jaden’s Voice as an invaluable resource. You’re a difference-maker, a Pamperee of the highest order.
Connect with Terri and Jaden and find vital autism info at:
The website: www.jadensvoice.org. Follow them on
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jadensvoice. Instagram: @Terri4Jaden.
Please consider donating to help Terri continue helping others at: http://www.gofundme.com/6vinsk
“I don’t think of autism as a curse or the end of my life. It is a new beginning for me—the beginning of a new journey and I’ve learned to adjust my life to be able to understand the thinking of an autistic child.” -Terri Matthews, Mom, CEO, Founder of Jaden’s Voice Foundation
© 2014 Pamper-Her-Friday by Rg2®
February 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm
Awesome Roy! I have been following your post and you are truly gifted !