Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meet Jem and his mom Shannon

Jem Miller was a happy baby who appeared to be developing normally until around the age of 18 months.   At that time his mother started to notice a change.  Very slowly Jem appeared to be losing skills.  He stopped singing and didn’t interact as much.  Over time his language also drifted away.  By the time Jem was 2 all of his functional communication was gone.  At 2 1/2 Jem was diagnosed with Autism.  At 3 his early intensive intervention began.  Jem is now a very verbal 10-year-old.  He will start fully included 5th grade in the fall.  He loves robots, Legos, video games, Minecraft, Americas Funniest Home Videos, Spongebob, swimming, playing with friends and anything to do with space!
Jem plans to be a rocket engineer when he grows up and especially wants to work on the robots that are sent into space to retrieve data.

 (Jem's Robot shirt)
 (Jem creating his art)

From the moment you start thinking of being a parent you have dreams for your child.  When I knew I was going to have a son I had visions of who he would be, how he would change the world and how proud I would be of him.  I remember the day my son was diagnosed with Autism.  It felt like someone had robbed my dreams, stolen my child and left me on a foreign planet.  It didn’t take me long to realize that my dreams for my child were going to be fulfilled, and Autism was going to be a part of the conversation. 
I can honestly say that my son is my hero.  At age 10, he has already changed the world and made it a better place.  He has worked harder than anyone I know to be a part of a world that I always took for granted.
I am a very lucky woman because I live in a place where my son had access to treatments that helped him and where funding sources were available for him to get that treatment.  I know that there are many, equally deserving children and parents who do not have access to what my son had.  It is just one of the many reasons we support Autism Care and Treatment Today!  They give grants to families to help their children get access to services and treatment that make a difference.
I can’t tell you how happy Jem is that his drawing of a robot is on t-shirt being sold to raise money for children with Autism.  He is so proud of himself and thrilled that he can be helpful.  I had no idea he was such a talented artist!  I couldn’t be prouder of him.  I hope you will support Jem, ACT Today! and Paper Clouds apparel by buying Jem’s robot and wearing it with pride!

Shannon Penrod is the host of Autism Live an interactive show featuring experts, news and information on resources for Autism.  To watch Autism Live visit:

 (Jem and his mom Shannon)
 (Jem's Robot on our canvas tote bag)

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