We want to introduce you to Shan Ja'Naye Johnson....a mother with an autistic daughter. Here she shares her story with us and our goal is to work together as a community to EMPOWER her in all ways possible to fully embrace her life and all situations it encounters. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or leave words of encouragement for Shan Ja'Naye!
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On March 12, 2004 Franiese Marie Butler was born to the parents of Frank Butler and Shantelle Johnson at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Fontana, California. Before Franiese was birthed to her mother, her mother suffered severely with gestational diabetes from 0-9 months. When Franiese was born, she weighed 7lbs and 6oz and 19 ½ inches. She was born very healthy with no complications.
Franiese developed properly during the normal baby stages of 0-12 months. At this time we did not notice anything strange about her development. Her mother and father made sure that all of her immunizations were up to date and made sure that she attended all of her well-baby check up appointments. Her mother and father never saw any peculiar signs of development with Franiese until one day, when her grandfather was holding and playing with Franiese in the front seat of his car and noticed that she did not make good eye contact with him. Franiese was about 7-8 months during the time. Franiese’s grandfather told her mother and father about his concern and suggested that we looked into the problem immediately.
When her parents took her to the doctor, no one could resolve the problem and was not able to tell them what was wrong with their daughter. The doctor told them to give it some time and just to keep watching her behavior and if it continues, to bring her back in for further testing. In 2006, Franiese turned two years old and her parents noticed that her development slowed down and that her behavior was a turn for the worse. Franiese could not speak and say things that a two year old would usually say. She would not interact properly with other children and her behavior was also out of control. Something had to be done about this immediately.
Franiese's parents could not believe that this was happening to their child and it was time to take further action. As time went on, Franiese continued the same routine with her behavior so her parents were referred by the doctor to bring her in for an evaluation with the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. The doctor watched her and evaluated how she interacted with objects and how she behaved. At the end of the evaluation, the doctor diagnosed Franiese with Autism. This was a very hurtful thing to find out for Franiese’s family. This has affected her family and her lifestyle. Her family now has to endure days and nights of her behavior and also have a loving understanding on how to cope with her behavior including all of her needs.
Franiese has a very hard time with expressing her emotions and comprehending conversations which makes her very frustrated and upset at times. She still has a hard time with speaking and in a complete sentence so that others may comprehend what she is trying to say. As this saddens her mother’s heart, Franiese has a very hard time with making friends who do not understand her and her diagnosis and makes fun of her speech.
Nevertheless, Franiese is a very bright, sweet, laughable, and lovable little girl who loves all and will do anything she can to put a smile on someone’s face. Her family is now hoping and praying that they can find a cure for her and other people who are now suffering with the diagnosis of Autism.