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Jenni 'JWoww' Farley opens up about her son being diagnosed with autism

"This is a new realm for us. One filled with tons of information and different theory's of treatments. So grateful Grey chose me to be his mommy and @rogermathewsnj to be his daddy 💙," Farley captioned an earlier video post showing Greyson in his new "sensory room."

Jenni 'JWoww' Farley opens up about her son being diagnosed with autism
Jenni JWOWW

According to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 in 40 children in America are diagnosed with autism. And Jersery Shore's Jenni 'JWoww' Farley recently shared that her 2-year-old son Greyson Mathews is among them.

"Grey was recently diagnosed with autism. He's also been in early intervention for over 6 months now and doing amazing," Farley captioned a Instagram photo of Greyson with his ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapist.

"This is a new realm for us. One filled with tons of information and different theory's of treatments. So grateful Grey chose me to be his mommy and @rogermathewsnj to be his daddy 💙," Farley captioned an earlier video post showing Greyson in his new "sensory room."

Farley has been very open about how her family has been trying to help Greyson after she and his dad, Roger Matthews, noticed differences in development. In an episode of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation that aired back in August, Farley spoke candidly about Greyson's speech delays and was touched when, after the episode aired, many fans reached out to her with stories about how they've helped their own children through developmental delays.

"I cant thank you enough," Farley wrote to her fans at the time. "To find out Greyson is 'behind' or 'delayed' crushed me... but only for a moment…"

The mother of two (Greyson has an older sister, 4-year-old Meilani) explained that she had felt some disappointment related to her son's delays, and honestly stated that she believed this feeling was linked to a desire to have "perfect children"—she then went on to explain that her son is perfect the way he is. ❤️

"I've had almost every test done you can think of," Farley, wrote, telling fans that she chose to speak about this issue on reality television because she knew she couldn't be the only one to be dealing with these feelings.

Screening, diagnosis and early intervention 

Now that Farley's son has a diagnosis, she can rest assured that she is far from alone. With 1 in 40 kids in the U.S. living with autism, the diagnosis is very common—which hopefully means the stigma is being torn down, as well as the barriers to treatment.

According to the Autism Society of America, early intervention is crucial for kids who have autistic spectrum disorder. Access to early intervention services "can have a huge impact on a child's behavior, functioning and future well-being" the society notes.

Unfortunately, not all kids are as lucky as Greyson, who is benefiting from early intervention therapies already, at just 2-and-a-half. Historically, more than half of kids with autism haven't been diagnosed until after they were already in school, but in recent years pediatricians, autism researchers and advocates have been making efforts to get more kids diagnosed at younger ages.

According to Autism Speaks, "Autism's hallmark signs usually appear by age 2 to 3." In some kids it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months, and even if it's not clearly diagnosed yet, associated developmental delays can be identified and treated earlier.

"For some kids, we see symptoms in infancy—even before they're a year old," says Cleveland Clinic pediatric behavioral health specialist Dr. Veena Ahuja.

"For most kids, somewhere between 12 and 24 months is where we really start to see symptoms because they're not engaging in talking and imitating adults like other kids are."

According to Autism Speaks, early signs include:

At 6 months old:

  • No or limited eye contact.
  • No social smiles or joyful expressions directed at others.

At 12 months old:

  • Not babbling.
  • Not pointing, reaching, waving or using gestures to communicate.
  • Not responding to name.

At 16 months old:

  • Not having any words is a sign.

At 24 months old:

  • No meaningful 2-word phrases.

This is why the AAP recommends pediatricians screen for autism between 18 and 24 months. Research proves that parents often pick up on the signs first, but professional evaluation is critical for accessing diagnosis and treatment. So if you do suspect your child may have autism, tell your pediatrician, and advocate for further investigation, screening and evaluation.

Autism Speaks offers a scientifically validated online screening tool for screening children between 16 and 30 months of age that assesses risk for autism spectrum disorder. The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (M-CHAT-R), comprised of a series of 20 questions about your child's behavior and can be accessed here.

In a recent Instagram post Farley expressed regret about how her son's diagnosis (something she mentioned during an interview about her upcoming personal care product line, Naturally Woww, but did not intend to be the focus of the article) became a news story.

"His story is too precious, no single article could capture that," she wrote.

It is true that every child with autism has a personal story that cannot be told in a 900-word article, and Greyson is certainly no exception. There are parts of his journey that no one, except for maybe his parents, will ever understand.

But it is also true that by speaking out about her son's diagnosis and his early intervention treatments, Farley is likely changing the lives of other children because she is breaking down the stigma.

She is part of a growing wave of parents who are letting the parents who come after them know that there is a way forward after an ASD diagnosis.

"When a family receives a diagnosis today, now they are saying, 'We're getting the diagnosis and we're also getting a list of resources, we're getting sent out into the community, to the right providers and we're getting early intervention,'" the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Veena Ahuja explains, adding, "People also know more about autism because it's in the media, so that's a huge change as well."

And Greyson's story is part of that change, so thank you for sharing it, Jenni.

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You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

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Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

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Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

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4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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