I’m Thankful For You: Jackson And His Jedis

(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Melissa Stone and is part of Cooper’s, ‘I’m Thankful For You’ Campaign.)

When I think about who I am thankful for this November, I hardly know where to begin.  I cannot restrict all of my thanks to one specific person. Rather, I am thankful for “Jackson’s Jedis” (our “village” which is comprised of many individuals who support us where we reside in California). Together, we love and advocate for awareness and acceptance.

The first and foremost member of this village is Jackson, our loving, funny, smart, and fearless leader.   He is a five-year old boy with moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Speech and Language Disorder, and Sensory Integration Disorder.  However, he is SO MUCH more than those labels he was given two years ago. He is a boy that has changed so many people for the better and I owe him thanks for that. He has taught us how to love one another unconditionally and to stop to take the time to see what isn’t being seen and listen to what is not being said. I am in awe of his ability to love each moment and truly treat everyone with kindness.

Next, I would like to thank my husband, Randy, a senior member of the village, for being my rock throughout this journey. His unwavering love and support for our son, and our entire family, is beyond admirable. From Jackson’s clinical diagnosis to IEP meetings, he is always there to stand beside me as we advocate for our beautiful little boy.

I am also thankful for others in the village: I am thankful that Jackson’s Oma was able to be a part of his life until her passing last year. She was (and is in heaven) his #1 fan. I am thankful for all of our family members that are no longer here with us on Earth, but rather watching over Jackson and protecting him. I am thankful for our family for never judging us, but accepting us as we are and including Jackson even when it seems as if he doesn’t want to be included. I am thankful for Jackson’s sister, Tatum, for always including Jackson and loving him for who he is.

I am thankful for friends that have become family who embrace us all with love and acceptance and provide a safe space to be our true selves. I am thankful for his speech and occupational therapists, pediatrician, BCBAs, behavior interventionists, teachers, swim instructor, baseball coaches, service coordinators at the regional center, gymnastics instructors, hippotherapy providers, attorneys, and countless people that we have worked with and encountered over the past two years to help Jackson as he reaches to live to the fullest of his potential. He has made SO much progress in two years because of the people listed above. Inclusion rocks!

Jackson and his Oma

None of Jackson’s appointments, therapies, and activities could be done without the support and assistance of Jackson’s grandparents, Nadine and David. With their help, I am able to work full-time to help provide for my family while allowing Jackson to continue to be active in involved in various endeavors.  “Thank you” can’t fully express my gratitude, but I hope Jackson’s smile begins to.

It is because of these Jedis that Jackson and our family are where we are today. Giving up is never an option, even when things seem to hit rock bottom. “Jackson’s Jedis” are responsible for motivation and inspiration when things seem difficult.

I am truly thankful for Jackson and his Jedis for making this world a better place.

You can still nominate the doctors, therapists, teachers, friends and family that make a difference in your special needs world. Click HERE to learn how!

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!


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