Vloggers Jerry and Dee LaVigne’s Son Officially Diagnosed With Autism
Jerry and Dee Lavigne of The LaVigne Life uploaded a personal vlog entitled, “Our Son Has Autism”. Jerry and Dee have two beautiful children, Jordan, 2, (aka “My Jor/JoJo”) and Jerry Jr. (or J3)—and have revealed to viewers today—that their eldest son, J3 was diagnosed with mild autism, as of December of 2015.
Viewers have mentioned characteristics in J3 which could be “tied to autism”, however, many assumed that he was a very shy and introverted child. Jerry and Dee LaVigne recently moved across the country to Arizona—many thought this was a career move for the family—that they would be closer to other YouTubers. This was not the case…Jerry and Dee revealed their move from Louisiana to Arizona was for their son, Jerry Jr. (Age 3)—to be closer to better resources, doctors and occupational therapist to assist J3 in his development.
Jerry and Dee Lavigne Autism Questions and Answers:
When did you know of your child’s Autism?
Dee explains the minimal age they evaluate any child with autism is 2 years old; The couple officially learned of their sons’ official diagnosis with autism after his 2nd birthday, while they were living in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Dee says she felt something about J3 was “different” at around 11 to 12-months-old. However, friend and family insisted, he was just a kid and everything was fine. Jerry says he was in denial—as J3 is his first-born son who carries his name and didn’t pick up on any symptoms. Jerry says he had many mixed emotions when finding out the diagnosis of his son…emotions ranging from very angry, confused to finally accepting it all.
Why did you wait to so long to share your son’s diagnosis?
Understandably, The LaVigne’s needed a considerable amount of time to process the various emotions associated with the new diagnosis of their son having autism. Dee continues to say—the experience of receiving a phone call, having a psychologist overload her with information about her only son was an incredible situation to process. Dee says she received a phone call in their home about the diagnosis, she was on the phone with the Children’s Hospital psychologist for several hours who gave her an incredible amount of information regarding J3. This experience was overwhelming and frightening, so Dee was a wreck. Jerry and Dee discuss some of the fears they’ve had since speaking to the psychologist including; J3 not being able to attend school and be in “normal” classrooms. Dee immediately began thinking of the possibilities of J3 getting bullied and outcasted amongst his peers.
Dee explains the psychologist noted J3 was incredibly developmentally advanced in some areas—however, in other areas he was delayed. Jerry mentions—as a parent, no one would want their child to be perceived differently, get sympathy for anything or even feel different amongst their peers. Dee says she was more scared and saddened by the entire situation more than anything. Dee says he first thought wasn’t to go on YouTube and discuss these issues because she didn’t know much about Autism. Dee and Jerry said that it’s been a learning process and they’ve accepting the information they are receiving.
Jerry says Dee has been wanting to talk about J3’s diagnosis on camera, but—Jerry has not been so comfortable. Jerry says he just wants viewers to see J3 as his little boy, a normal, perfect little boy—just like his daughter, Jordan. They simply do not want J3 to be perceived differently. Dee says though they’ve cried a lot about the situation—it is nothing to be “sad” about. Months ago, Dee said she was a complete wreck after finding out about the J3’s diagnosis—as presented in vlogs—she gets very emotional and is very attached to her children. Jerry says he wasn’t able to talk about it because he was angry and both were simply searching for answers at the time.
What Made You Decide to Share This Now?
Dee says she wanted to share J3’s diagnosis because through all the research she’s done—she noticed there is a stigma surrounding autistic children and the word surrounding “autism”. Dee maintains autism is a word, that can be used for children who are not deemed as “normal” by societal standards.
Are You Ashamed or Embarrassed?
Jerry explains he is in no way embarrassed or ashamed of their son—however—he just wanted to understand his son. Dee agree’s, she was more scared and nervous than angry because she did not know what to expect. Jerry and Dee do not feel as if they are, “parents to an autistic child”—they are simply parents. Parenting is difficult through anyone—however, they see J3 as a normal child. Jerry and Dee note they do have experience with children with developmental issues as Jerry’s grandmother was a foster parent to many children with developmental issues. Dee also mentioned in high school, she babysat her school counselor’s son who was special needs as well.
Are Worried About J3’s future?
Jerry and Dee maintain they have typical parental worries about both their children and are not worried about Jerry future in regards to his autism. As many children who have disabilities, the earlier they are diagnosed—the better it will be. The couple discusses various signs in Jerry including; uncontrollable tantrums, flapping of the arms and no eye contact. However, many studies have shown—autistic children as being incredibly advanced.
On a happier note, the couple mentions Jordan has been an amazing force in her older brother’s life! Jordan, who is one year younger, has been a great influence on J3’s development and growth. Dee says the couple has been taking all the proper steps to assist J3 in his development. Since J3 is high functioning and on the mild side of the spectrum that Jerry can be mainstreamed into regular classes once he begins school.
Jerry and Dee also thank viewers for commenting and giving their experience and advice on children with autism. The couple vows to move on together, as a family to overcome this new challenge.