In honor of April being Autism Awareness Month, we at The Chronicle reached out to someone in our community to learn about autism in a more personal way.
Laura and Marshall Jones of Swainsboro have a precious family. They are blessed with three sons: 8-year-old Frank, 8-year-old Isaac, and 4-year-old William. The oldest two are twin boys diagnosed with autism. “Autism Awareness Month is a month for my boys. It highlights what my family goes through throughout the year,” said Laura.
Since the beginning stages of growth, Laura and Marshall were always suspicious of their sons having autism. After going back and forth to the doctors and finding the right specialists, Isaac and Frank were finally diagnosed at the age of 3.
Each child, however, is on two different locations on the autism spectrum. Their biggest struggle is communication. One is at a higher spot and can communicate well with the help of time countdowns. Audible countdowns help him with certain tasks like ending playtime outside. One of the Joneses’ sons is on the lower end of the spectrum. “He is verbal but does not communicate,” their mother said.
The twins enjoy many things in life such as watching YouTube, reading, and playing outdoor sports. For Laura, she enjoys reading time with all three of her sons. “I really enjoy doing just about anything with my sons,” she said.
For the twins, Swainsboro Primary School has been a huge help when it comes to helping them progress. “The school has been our greatest source of regulation, specifically the SPED department and its teachers,” said Laura. The teachers have gone above and beyond to help her boys.
When it comes to playing a role in autism awareness, Laura and her family encourage the public to know the difference between awareness and acceptance. “There’s a big difference between the two,” said Laura. Activities that her family often participate in, they are included. “If wasn’t aware of them being autistic, I don’t know if they would be included.”
The Jones Family also encourages parents to trust their instincts if they believe their child has autism and to not push it aside. Earlier interventions have better outcomes for the child. “By being kind people can be allies to autism. No matter what the difference is, always teach your child to be kind to everyone.”