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          Taking the Next Step: Discipline Dangers

          Jessica sought help from Dr. Phil because she was concerned for her autistic child in a way that she felt her husband, Kevin, was not.  Here’s what they had to say on the show:

          “My son, Aiden, was diagnosed with autism when he was 2 1/2 years old,” said Jessica.
          “We fight quite often about it,” said Kevin. “Jessica wants to move to where there are services for Aiden. I don’t think I’m willing to make that big of a move.”
          “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to help my child. I’m ready to sell our house, cars, to have him receive the services he needs. Kevin is afraid of moving,” Jessica said.
          “Right now, I have a really safe job,” he said. “If I were to go somewhere else and lose a job, we could pretty much lose everything.”

          “Sometimes, I think that I should just take the kids and go. Kevin says that if I move with the kids, he will file for divorce and fight me for custody,” Jessica said. “I cannot look back and think I should have done more for my son. I can’t live thinking I didn’t fight enough. I’m Aiden’s mother. If I don’t fight for him, who will?”

          Jessica gives an update since the show:

          I feel like I should start by saying how wonderful the whole Dr. Phil staff has been. We really appreciate all the kindness and sensitivity. Aiden and Lilly were both backstage during the filming. After the show, Aiden had tons of fun playing chase with some of the girls. They were all so great with him that I would have taken them home with us if I could have. We both really liked Dr. Phil. We’ve always loved his honesty. We are very grateful for all the help and guidance he has provided.
          After the show, we went to visit The Lawlis Peavey PNP Center. We were very impressed with Dr. Lawlis, Dr. Peavey and the rest of the staff. They had a wonderful way of explaining things that just made sense. It felt like we were given a better understanding of why Aiden reacts the way he does in certain situations. They suggested several changes in his daily routine and diet. We came home and started making them right away.


          Things have been getting MUCH better. Aiden’s aggressive behaviors have dramatically reduced. He has even had a couple weeks at school with no problems at all. His teachers have also been making comments on how wonderfully his speech is improving. His sentence structure is becoming much more complex. It seems like it is happening almost overnight. He seems to be blossoming. Yesterday afternoon, I took him to the park. It was wonderful. He played with some other children and had a great time. When an older boy began to pick on all the younger kids, Aiden came and got me. That was so huge. He usually would have just fought back, and I would have had to drag him away, kicking and screaming. Yesterday though, he came to me and said that the boy was hurting kids. I said it was time to go home, and he walked nicely to the car. I was so impressed with him that it made me a bit teary-eyed. He stayed so calm and in control of himself. It was amazing to see.


          I think my favorite thing about The PNP Center is that they take it slow. They give you some things to start with and say they will be following up soon. You don’t leave feeling overwhelmed with information. You leave feeling like you are supported, informed and like you have a direction. Also, most of the suggestions are things we can do. That is so important because we live in a very rural area and don’t have access to services that are available in larger areas. We are very excited about the possibilities, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with The PNP Center.
          The Tag Leap Frog system has been great. Aiden loves the books. He spends time with them every day. I love the quizzes and that we can see his learning path. It has been a great tool for finding his strengths and the areas that we need to work on. I would definitely recommend the system to anyone with young children.
          I have started a local support group for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. It feels great to connect with local families who are dealing with the same issues. Autism can be isolating.
          We are beginning to build a support system. Not just for ourselves but for others in the community as well. We are working hard and finding the positives in the situation. I frequently think about Dr. Peavey telling me to breathe in joy. It definitely had a impact on me.
          Our journey has only just begun. We know the trip will be a long one, but we are excited by all the discoveries we will make along the way.


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