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Mom and daughter share journey of living with autism

<i></i><br/>Mom and daughter
Lawrence, Nakia

Mom and daughter


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    DETROIT, Michigan (WWJ) — In many ways, Lauren Stevens has grown up like most girls her age. Having fun, being creative expressing herself, and enjoying life.

“I like to go swimming, I like to dance, I like to do cheerleading, and I love playing volleyball,” said Lauren. “But I wish some time in high school, I’m going to be on the volleyball team.”

But Lauen is special. She was diagnosed with autism when she was just a toddler. Her mom Jamila said that was tough to hear.

“I was scared because I was contemplating what her future would be like and what life would be like for her with this diagnosis,” said Jamila.

But that diagnosis was also empowering.

“I was relieved because having a clear diagnosis means that I had an avenue to take and a plan of action,” said Jamila.

That plan was made here at the Judson Center, a facility that specializes in helping children with autism.

“I came here since I was, like, really little, and I’ve been learning a lot,” said Lauren.

Judson CEO Lenora Hardy-Foster has known Lauren since she was a child and was instrumental in getting her the treatment she would need to have a normal childhood and go as far in life as possible. Hardy-Foster said deciding to get a child evaluated for autism is not easy for many parents.

“That early intervention is extremely important. A lot of times, parents, you don’t want to accept that there might be something just a little different,” said Hardy-Foster. “Maybe the child is two-years-old and not really making any sounds, not really developing any social behavior skills, not interacting with people. And a lot of times parents don’t want to reach out and try to seek help.”

But when they do, Hardy-Foster said it can make a world of difference. Lauren is 13 years old now. And her mom says she is growing both physically and mentally each day. And she is excited about her daughter’s future.

According to the CDC, about 1 in 6 children aged 3–17 years were diagnosed with a developmental disability from 2009-2017. So that shows you how important awareness and acceptance are for kids on the spectrum.

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