Q&A with Jennifer Faust Hartsuff-Autism Parent

 

“With the right accommodations, Shawn is game for pretty much anything these days!”

Q&A with Jennifer Faust Hartsuff-Autism Parent

photo credit Jennifer Hartsuff

 

My name is Jennifer Faust and my only child, Shawn, was diagnosed PDD-NOS at the age of two years old.
He also has Sensory Processing Disorder, which made him react adversely to bright lights, loud noises, the sight and even the smell of most food throughout his childhood.

Needless to mention it has been a challenge getting him to venture out anywhere out of New Orleans, where we reside.

However, I’m not complaining.
The Big Easy is a fantastic place to explore with lots to do.There are so many museums, ‘historical sites that you can tour. There the ships that cruise the Mississippi River you can take on weekends.And there are food markets and restaurants on practically every corner.
Also, with events like Mardi Gras, French Quarter Fest, & Jazz Fest to name a few there’s always some festival or party going on.
In fact, most activities we engage in here revolve around music, food, & lots of people who sadly for a kid like Shawn are continuous assaults on his senses 

I have always felt it necessary for Shawn to experience as many things as possible, and try to stretch his limited world.
They say that practice makes perfect, right?
He’s seven now, and my relentless efforts are finally starting to pay off.

With the right accommodations, Shawn is game for almost anything these days, and I’m beyond thrilled! I’m hopeful that he will progress faster now that he is older.

To help with Shawn’s challenges we adhere to several rules:
We always talk about what we’re going to do the night before to prepare, for any next day’s events.
We never leave home without sunglasses a hat and his noise canceling hunter’s earmuffs, of course. Those earmuffs are probably the best things I’ve ever purchased!
And over time I’ve learnt the importance of letting him control the length of our outings. It’s very comforting to Shawn to know if he starts to get overwhelmed he can say the word and we immediately leave.

Since I love everything about New Orleans, it was quite frustrating not to be able to share that with him, all these years.
But things were looking up Last month he got his first taste of pecans! I’m hopeful that soon he will become more adventurous and learn to go on longer car rides and who knows, maybe, even try flying.

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