Founder | President
Jodi Davis is the mother of two daughters, one with autism. She is a former elementary school teacher, but became a stay at home mom when she was having a rough pregnancy with her first child.
Her oldest daughter was diagnosed with autism at 20 months, while she was about 5 months pregnant with her second daughter. Even though she was an elementary school teacher, she did not realize how delayed her oldest really was. Once Jodi mourned the diagnosis, she knew she had to help her child. So she researched on the internet, asked the doctors a ton of questions and learned from the therapists while they were working with her daughter.
Learning how to positively parent her children is one of her best accomplishments. Jodi’s true passion is helping families look at autism positively. She started Blooming with Autism 501 c3 because she felt that so many families could not afford the necessary private therapies or therapy items for their child diagnosed with autism; such as an iPad, speaking device, speech therapy or occupational therapy, to name a few. This is imperative for their development. Jodi has also written and published a children’s book called, “Tag’s First Day at School.” Tag is the initials of her oldest child.
"I started this non-profit organization, 501 c3 because I felt and still feel that a child with autism needs to be exposed to many different types of therapy in order to bloom. My daughter was a child that spun, no eye contact, tantrumed continuously, covered her ears with loud noise, covered her eyes if she was over-stimulated, spoke when she was 4, potty trained not too much longer after that, rocked to calm herself and many other typical characteristics of autism. Being exposed to so many different types of therapy, she is doing extremely well. She continues to have speech therapy, behavior therapy with her sister, and social skills therapy. The better she gets the more she is mainstreamed. Families who cannot afford these priceless therapies need support to get them. Their child can bloom as well!!"
Thank you for all your support and future support.
Jodi Davis - President/Founder
Stephen Davis - Vice President
Jennifer Rodriguez - Secretary/Treasurer
Our Journey Through Autism
Teagan was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 20 months. We brought her into be evaluated by a speech therapist in the area. We were living in Virginia. In our eyes, the only problem was the lack of speech (that we were aware of). Before we knew it, we were being told a whole list of things that she wasn't doing. And was told she was Autistic.
We were then referred to the Early Intervention Program in Virginia. Due to the lack of staff, we had to continue to pay out of pocket for our own speech therapist. We found a neurologist and he confirmed the diagnosis of autism. And for some reason, they only recommended ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) once a week. We asked if she would need more to help her, but they discouraged us.
After a few months of barely any therapy, we decided to move back to Florida. I was pregnant with our second child and both of our families lived there. It took a short period of time to sell our house in VA and move to Florida. We were determined.
Once in Florida, Teagan was re-evaluated through the Early Intervention Program and was awarded 5 hours a week of Discrete Trial (ABA); 2 1/2 hours a week of Occupational Therapy; and 3 hours a week of Speech Therapy. We were very excited for her. And that was only the beginning. We also hired outside therapists to work with her, so she would have at least 10 hours of Discrete Trial. Our Board Certified Behavior Analyst trained the other therapists.
Once we were in the thick of all the therapy, I was so bothered that each time these therapists came to teach my daughter, she cried. Actually she tantrumed. It took me years to really understand that they were trying to get her to play; and that she just wanted to stay within herself. My instinct was to just scream, "Stop!" But boy am I glad that I surrendered to the process. It was hard to understand that she was crying, but nobody was doing anything to hurt her. I would say THAT was the biggest lesson for ME. To trust that the therapists wanted to teach Teagan to play, learn and just socialize as other children do naturally.
Once she turned three, she was then part of the Child Find Program. Teagan was once again evaluated to become a part of this program. She was enrolled in public preschool, and was put in a VE (varying exceptionalities) class. This class had children with all kinds of special needs, but most had speech and language issues.
After the first year we moved her to another school, because we felt her needs were not getting met. We had to meet with an ESE coordinator for the county and told our concerns. The new school was granted to Teagan.
Once in the second school, she flourished! She was potty trained; she started some social interactions; the teacher took so much interest in Teagan succeeding and we; as parents, got great advice.
Teagan was then in a public elementary school for Kindergarten in an inclusion class. Which means there are just a handful of functional special needs students and the rest of the class are typically developing Kindergarten students. After a meeting, a shadow was awarded to Teagan. This person helped her stay on task, but the person is not to be on top of her. She was to teach her how to be a student.
At the end of that school year, we decided (IEP team) that Teagan needed a little more help; so she repeated Kindergarten. She did better the second year but was still tantruming a lot in school.
After Kindergarten we moved her school to be placed in a autism cluster class. This means that part of her day was with special needs children with similiar abilities. For a few of her classes, she went into a typically developing class with her shadow.
Teagan is now in 7th grade. Time sure flies. She has participated in hundreds, if not thousands of hours of Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social Skills classes (behavior therapy), and ABA. She has also received in home; as well as services in local therapy centers. She has gone through two different auditory retraining therapies: The Tomatis Method and Berard's AIT. They were very successful for her.
There are other therapies that she has done: hippotherapy, energy therapy, NAET, Sibling Therapy and Cranial Sacral. She continues to take supplements, go to chiropractic care, only use toxic free products (no additional unnecessary toxins in her body) and have a job chart (keep her on task with positive reinforcement).
As far as our family life; it has been quite difficult to keep a level head some days. Some days are harder than others. But I can say that I work very hard to make sure Teagan gets everything she needs. And honestly, what her sister needs. The biggest ingredient is staying positive. I never felt that Teagan would always be the way she was at the age of 2.
When she was 9, her father and I got divorced. It was difficult for her but for different reasons than her sister. She didn't like that her schedule changed.
We did try the gluten free - caseine free diet, but Teagan starved herself. I haven't really tried again, because she lost so much weight, but I do know that children have done very well with this diet.
Nobody is Perfect. We all have issues that we learn to cope with. I feel that my daughter will function in the world due to her knowing her capabilities and her challenges. She might be more shy than average or need to regroup in large crowds. I feel that if financially you CAN do it, expose your child to oodles of therapies. Some work and some don't. Don't try everything, but try what sounds feasible to you. My daughter has made miraculous changes. She's been exposed to many differnt therapies and has made positive changes with the majority with them. NEVER GIVE UP!! AND ALWAYS KNOW THAT YOUR CHILD TODAY IS NOT GOING TO BE THAT SAME CHILD IN A YEAR!
EVERY CHILD CAN BLOOM!
Teagan is graduating from high school. She will continue at her school for job training and life coaching. She can continue for the next 3-4 years there, but they don't think she will need that much time to figure out what she wants to do with her life and to train her for it. She is too nervous to drive a car, so a golf cart was donated to her because she prefers to learn how to drive this way. She is so amazing!!!