A Mother's Love, Caring for a Child with Autism


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - April is Autism awareness month as we raise awareness for the developmental disorder that affects many Americans and their families.

It may be a school day, but that doesn't stop Jennifer and her boys from jumping around on the trampoline. It's one of the many activities that keeps her family connected. Her son Joey has Autism.

"Some of the things I am doing for Joey are a little bit different; I care for him as some would do for toddler and my son is now 11 and a half years old," said Morris.

As the primary caregiver of her sons, Jennifer works tirelessly everyday to work Joey through basic home routines like bathing, putting on clothes and brushing his teeth.

"I can have acceptance of Joey and our life and feel good about it but it's like anything, that can cycle as well; something can happen and I can see other kids his age doing that developmentally they are ready to do and I might grieve a little bit for the loss of Joey not being able to do those things," said Morris.

Even when she isn’t physically with him at school, she makes her presence known as an advocate for alternative teaching for children with autism.

"So we have meeting and I can call an IEP meeting at anytime to say that I’m uncomfortable or I’m unsure, let’s talk about where he is," said Morris. "I was able to increase his speech time and even recently we reworked his whole educational program to be more about for daily living than strictly academics." 

"Jen is always here to participate in those types of meetings and as a team we are able to figure out what goals we want to focus on for Joey," said Lauren Zima, the internal coach for autism support classes in the Chambersburg Area School District.

At the end of the day, it’s her love for her children that keeps her going.

"People often say to me, 'I don’t know how you do it Jen', and I do it because I have to and I really don’t know any other way, and when I do something and I’m committed to it, like I am my children, I can’t imagine not giving it 100 percent." 

Jennifer Morris is also a mentor for other parents in the Chambersburg Area School District who have children with autism.

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