World Autism Awareness Day
Meet Jennifer P.!
Join us in recognizing April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Jennifer P. was nominated for the 2022 Caregiver of the Year Award by her eldest daughter, Kateland. Jennifer is the caregiver of her 10 year old daughter, London, who is diagnosed with Autism.
Read about Jennifer’s incredible caregiving journey below:
"My mom Jennifer has been a wonderful mother to me for 27 years. She has been a wonderful mother to my amazing ten-year-old sister London as well. But her path as a mother and caregiver to London has been very different than her path with me. See, at two years old, London was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder. This meant that my mom would choose to become a stay-at-home mom and take on multiple additional caregiving responsibilities in addition to all of the usual responsibilities of a parent. As a child with autism, doctors recommended that London participate in multiple therapies and classes. These began with early intervention as a toddler, then transitioned into occupational therapy, speech therapy, and applied behavior analysis for up to 40 hours a week.
Just before the COVID-19 outbreak, my mom was solely responsible for taking London (and often participating in) all of these therapies as well as sports social classes, gymnastics classes, and school. My mother and sister both have a blood disorder and are immune compromised, so when the COVID-19 outbreak happened, London was no longer able to receive her usual therapy. Instead of driving London to her therapy and social groups, my mom began helping London attend school from home over Zoom, and supporting her with all of her schoolwork and homework. My mom also worked closely with London’s therapists to ensure that things stayed consistent for London within the home during quarantine. Since my stepfather, Ken, had work hours that did not align with London’s weekday activities, my mom was taking care of London by herself virtually every moment of every weekday. My mom also only has a very small support system of a few friends in Las Vegas, with no other family to help out in the state of Nevada. Last year, 2021 was perhaps her toughest year as a mother and caregiver to London yet. London was able to go back to school and start back some of her therapy sessions, but in October of 2021, my mother’s husband, and London’s father Ken, passed away. We lost him suddenly, tragically and unexpectedly. My mother had to process her grief as she continued all of her daily responsibilities as London’s mom and caregiver. She is now London’s only parent, and she still cares for her with nothing but patience, kindness, and determination to give her the best life possible. She deserves to be recognized as Caregiver of the year because she is an amazing, kind, loving and selfless mother and caregiver to my sister London. She is truly a superhero. "
We want to recognize Jennifer for her dedication to providing London with the best care possible, and for being a loving caregiver and mother. We are inspired by Jennifer’s perseverance throughout the pandemic, and we are honored to share her story with the caregiving community.
Jessie Ary is Carewell's Content Coordinator. When Jessie isn't writing for Carewell, she spends her time attempting to climb rocks and traveling throughout the country with her cat, Carrot.