Puushing 80

Pushing 80. That’s me. So now I am feeling the urgency of old age, but I don’t have the time to get old yet.  I am still trying to accomplish goals for autism. I am trying to make sure that my son will have a good quality of life after I am gone. I feel great for my age, but how much time do I have left? I just heard about the death of a 40 year old acquaintance, so I realize that death has no age.

What if I don’t live to see the fruits of my labor? What will happen to my son? He is so much better now, but he is still handicapped by autism, and I still don’t have any answers.  His father, Pervis Jackson Sr was so sure that we could accomplish something meaningful for people with autism. It was his goal, which is why we formed the Pervis Jackson Autism Foundation. I am pushed by both the Pervises to continue to try to help others, but it would have been easier with my husband’s help. He died so suddenly that I am aware of how fast circumstances can change.

I am so thankful that old age is not what it used to be. We seniors have redefined old age. 70 is now the new 50. I remember when I was old. I was trying to manage the arthritis pain in my knees and shoulders. Various body parts were dropping or drooping. I felt weary and worn.  I realized that if you lived long enough, these things were bound to happen. Old age had come to me and I would have to adjust. I thought about who I would give my high-heeled shoes too,  who I would get to run errands for me.

I thought about the old people that I knew when I was a child, how they looked, (toothless and bent over), how they smelled (liniment). Now I was one of them. Oh well, this is inevitable if you live long enough. I was old for about two months. Then, I realized that I was not ready to be old.

I thought about Phyllis Diller, the comedian. When they asked her about getting old, her reply was. “I was old, I didn’t like it”.  I agreed with Phyllis.  I was not going to be old before my time. I thought about one of my heroes, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. He said that the attitude is more important than the fact, that if you can’t change the fact, you can change your attitude about the fact. I had changed my attitude about autism, now I would have to change my attitude about old age.

This is actually  the best time in history to be old. They make arthritis medicine that doesn’t smell. They make solutions for dropping or drooping body parts. Us old folks now can buy teeth and hair. They make pretty shoes that don’t have high heels. Medical advancements have made treatments and medications that help keep us young. You are only as old as you feel.

I started back doing yoga for exercise. I started drinking more water and eating more nutritious foods. You know, all the healthy things that we are told to do. I started feeling better.  My mind and my Spirit are still young.  You have the same Spirit in old age that you have when you are young.   That was a close call. I decided not to be old, yet. There are still many things that I want to do. I still want to travel and see more of the world. I still want to speak for my son who can’t speak for himself. I still want to enjoy life.

Until next time I leave you with the words of Psalm 92:14, “They will still bear fruit in old age. They will remain fresh and flourishing.”

May the love of God enfold you. May the Power of God protect you.

Claudreen Jackson

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Positive Energy

How would it be if we could see Positive Energy?  The energy that is the key to set us free  and keep us young and well and strong ? and help us bloom our whole life long.

Would it be bright like a light to help us make it through the night? Would it make sunshine in our soul? and keep us warm and help us grow?

Would it sparkle and shine like silver and gold? Would it reveal a lie we’ve been told? Would it help us not to guess if we should say no or yes? Could we always do our best?

Would it lift us up above the fray? Give us the strength to find our way? Would it soothe our Spirit and dry our tears, and help us keep away our fears?

I know you may be tired of me speaking of this energy. But wouldn’t it be nice to see?

This is one of my original poems.  I know that I have written about Positive Energy before, but with hearing so much bad news daily, I thought I should repeat it. I want to do my bit to add a little Positive Energy to the World.  (Lord knows the negative energy people are busy). I hope those of us who believe in the power of Positive Energy will share it and not let the negative energy people drag us down. When I was saturated in negative energy, I felt like I was drowning, and I was.

I didn’t come up with the Positive Energy idea by myself. One of my heroes, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote the book, “The Power of Positive Thinking”, which had a great impact on me. He was the founder of the Guideposts and Daily Word booklets. His booklet, “Thought Conditioners” helped me to shift my thinking to be a Positive Energy person. Dr Peale has been one of my mentors and heroes. I even had an article published in one of his booklets.  My article about coming to terms with autism, titled,”The Realization” was published in Plus Magazine. It was a great honor for me.

I used to read a phenomenal little newspaper called “PhenoneNews. One of the writers shared a quote that stuck with me. “Darkness is capable of anything. I will not contribute to this horrifying twilight. Though the terrors of the night be all around me, still will I celebrate the Light and glorify the dawn”.  by Rishikavi Raghudas.  This has become one of my Guiding Principles. We see what happens  when too many negative thinkers get together.  One of the things that having a child with autism has opened my eyes to is how many Positive, helpful people there are and I have learned a lot from them.

In the same newspaper Susan  Fine says, “All major religions believe that each hunan being contains a light inside which is pure and beautiful, but sometimes this light is covered, hidden by so much dirt.” Miss Fine states that we can work on removing the dirt by making a clean place inside our minds and finding the light inside our hearts. This  message had a great impact on me when I was teaching.

We had a song that we sang often in my class. “This Little Light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” My students loved singing and this was a good message for them. I reminded them that they all had a light that they should let shine. When one of them would be sad or upset, I would ask. “Who  put your light out?” They always knew. I would tell them to not  to let that person drag them down.  

We hear bad news every day, but we still have to have hope. “For we are saved by hope; but hope seen is not hope, for what a man (or woman) seeth , why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then we do with patience wait for it.” Romans 8:24, 25 

Until next time; May the Power of God protect you; May the Love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson

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The Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame!!

The Spinners were inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame on October 4, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The event was a black tie gala held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. There was a red carpet and a VIP reception. The evening featured a great concert along with the Induction Ceremony. Many of the honorees performed. There were new versions of old groups  and old versions of old groups who performed hit after hit after hit. The music was entertaining and brought back many memories. It was great to see old friends in a celebration of their talent.

The mission of the Hall of Fame is to preserve the music of Rhythm and Blues.    It was founded by Lamont “Showboat” Robinson who was actually a basketball star. The executive director is Dr. Fred Wheatt. They are committed to honoring our Rhythm and Blues Legends. Their plan is to build a facility here in Detroit to showcase these artists.

We had a moment of silence for the memory of members who were being inducted who are no longer with us. Of course, my husband, Pervis Jackson is one of those and I was honored to pick up his award.  Henry Fambrough, the only remaining original member of the Spinners mentioned Pervis, Bobbie Smith, Phillippe Wynne and Billie Henderson in his acceptance speech. He said that he still misses them.

Dr. Wheatt and Mr. Robinson lamented the fact that they didn’t start this years ago while some of the inductees were still alive. Many of us were picking up awards for our talented loved ones who have gone on. Somehow, we feel that they know they are being honored even if it was not while they were here. This induction means that their legacy will not be forgotten.

The Spinners also received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1997. The award was in recognition of their “artistry and lifelong contributions to Rhythm and Blues music”. However, the foundation does not have a physical building. I am grateful that the Hall of Fame is building a museum where people can come to see videos of performers and hear the music of our Rhythm and Blues artists.

Performers of today need to hear  the music that gave them their foundation. I believe that there was more “real music” back in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Lyrics had a great deal more meaning. Whatever you wanted to say, but couldn’t put into words, you could find a song to say it for you. Not so today. You wouldn’t dare repeat some of what is being sung about today.

I am so proud of Pervis! Though he is gone, he is still making history. He was a world class person both on and off stage. He taught me a lot. From him, I learned the meaning of persistence, perseverance and never giving up on your goals. He was my mentor. I would not be writing if it were not for Pervis pushing, nagging and encouraging me. He felt that we needed to speak for our son and now I am speaking for the two Pervises. He was the one with all the courage (or nerve), He is gone, but the lessons he taught me remain with me.

The Spinners are now nominated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which is located in Cleveland, Ohio. This is their third nomination. Hopefully, the third time is the charm. You can vote for them until December 9 at rockhall.com. If you are not familiar with them, look them up on google or youtube.  The Spinners  had many hits in the 60s and 70s and did many TV shows.  They  were the second black group to get a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. They were and still are a first  class group who put their all into their performances.  The newer members are keeping up the traditions of the founding members.

You are used to me writing about the other Pervis, Pervis Jr. But I had to write about Pervis Sr. who is still having an impact on my life. Of course, Pervis Jr is oblivious to all that his father accomplished, but he knew that his father loved him and wanted the best for him, as do I.

Until next time, May the love of God enfold you; May the Power of God protect you.

Claudreen Jackson

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The Autism Walk at Ford Field

The Pervis Jackson Autism Foundation joined others on October 4 for the Autism Walk at Ford Field in Detroit. People with autism, families, friends, caregivers, service providers, etc.  all joined together to make the day a success. The Autism Walks are held nationally and were started by the Autism Speaks, one of the biggest organizations that provide advocacy and services to people with autism.

Autism Speaks was founded by Suzanne and Bob Wright when they became grandparents of a child with autism. They started Autism Speaks about ten years ago and it has accomplished a great deal since then. They saw how much such an organization was needed. The autism walks are held to raise awareness, raise funds for research and to provide services to families with a person who has autism. 

The Pervis Foundation Team had walked in previous Autism Speaks Walks, but we did not walk last year. (I thought that I was too old). But this year, I remembered how I wished for an Autism Walk when Pervis Jr was younger and I vowed then that if we ever had such a walk, we would participate.

Pervis Jr likes to walk. He cannot talk, but his face is very expressive. If there is something that he does not want to do, his face shows it. Or his actions. I am thankful that he has become more pleasant and agreeable as he has gotten older. I would not have predicted this, as I would not have predicted that the diagnosis would increase so greatly. In 1975 when Pervis Jr was born, the diagnosis was 1 in 10,000 people. It was extremely rare and most people had not heard of autism. How has it increased so greatly? Maybe some of the  research will help answer that question. 

The walks help to raise awareness about autism. Children with handicaps are some of the most vulnerable people in society.  They are not on most peoples’ radar, but they are on my radar because I know these children. That’s why we formed the Pervis Jackson Autism Foundation. We want to do what we can to help children with handicaps who are in need. In the 40 years since Pervis Jr was born, I have heard many sad stories. At one point,  I was one of them. In my book, “Inspired By Autism” I tell of some of my challenges in being the parent of a child with autism.

We can not help everyone, but we can help someone. We have helped over 250 families since we were formed in 2009. We are nowhere near the level of Autism Speaks, but we do what we can from where we are. You can too. You don’t have to write a book or form a foundation to help people with autism. If you have family or friends who are struggling with a child handicapped by autism (and it is a struggle), see what you can do to help. Can you provide the family with dinner a couple of times a month? Can you take them to the park? Can you offer to stay with the child for a few hours so the parents can have a break. (If you can’t bring yourself to do that, then you know what they are up against).

We walk because we have hope for our children. One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 8:24,25. “For we are saved by hope, but hope seen is not hope. For what a man or woman seeth, why does he yet hope for. But if we hope for that we see not, then we do with patience wait for it”.

My hope is that every family has the means to do whatever it is that their child needs. All of my hopes for Pervis Jr did not come to pass, but he is greatly loved and seems to be content, for he does not hope for much.

Until next time: May the Light of God surround you, May the Love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson

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How Can We Help You?

How can we help you? That is the question that the Pervis Foundation asks parents who apply for assistance. We did not hear this question back in the ’70s when Pervis Jr was born. What we heard was, “We don’t serve children with autism”. We heard this from all the agencies that were supposed to help children with disabilities. ‘We don’t serve children with autism”. We were an “orphan disability” because the diagnosis of autism was so rare.

Those of us parents who were struggling with this challenge were rejected and dejected. We set about trying to increase awareness of autism. I became a member of the state board of directors of Autism Society of Michigan (then Michigan Society for Autistic Citizens (MSAC). At that time, autism did not have its own category as a disability. We went to our state capital in Lansing and testified in a legislative session requesting a separate designation for autism. We Were denied.

We did not give up. We rescheduled and re-requested. We decided that if we were denied again that we would take our children with us the next time. This time we were successful and autism finally got it’s own designation as a disability.

I restarted the Wayne County Chapter and became president. I was appointed to the Detroit Public Schools Special Education Parents Advisory Committee. I became a speaker for United Foundation. I was appointed by Governors Blanchard and Engler to their advisory council, The Michigan State Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities (the DD Council). We met monthly and made recommendation to the governor about issues that people with disabilities faced. I joined other committees and parent groups.

Us oldsters did a lot of advocating and working for services for people with autism. There was nothing in the ’70s. I couldn’t even find a parent group to join. (This was before cell phones and the internet). Todays parents have benefitted from our efforts. I hope that we do nor lose any of the gains that we made. Now that more people with autism are able to advocate for themselves I am sure services will continue to grow.

I did all this to help make agencies aware that we needed help, and to help wherever I could.  I know that with the increase in the diagnosis came an increase in service providers to help people with autism. Back then,, parents were divided into “survivors” and “non-survivors”. So were marriages. I barely survived both, but I have survived Pervis Jr and he has survived me.

Though parents have it better now, I know that they still need help. I want to help because it is my sense of responsibility to autism. Even the richest person who has a child with autism needs help, but they can afford it. They would not be applying to the Pervis Foundation for help. We help those who can’t afford services or treatments for their child.

I am not a person who likes to ask for help, but I have found that there are a lot of good people who want to help. If you are someone who wants to help, you don’t have to write a book or start a foundation. Just ask the question “How can I help?” if you have a friend or relative who is struggling with a child with autism. Maybe you could provide them with dinner a couple of times a month. Maybe you could take them to a park for an afternoon outing. Maybe all they want is a night out.

I would love to be one of the parents who share information about how they “cured” their child with autism, but I am not. My child is still handicapped and  I am still speaking for him. When he was younger, I wondered where all the adults were who were still handicapped by autism because you never saw or heard anything about them. They seemed to disappear in adulthood.  Pervis Jr and I have not disappeared. We are still here and  I  am still trying to make sure that he has a good quality of life.

Let me leave you with the Pervis Foundation motto, Matthew 25:40, “As you have done it unto the least of my brethren: ye have done it unto me”

Until next time: May the Power of God protect you; May the love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson

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The Big 4-0.

Pervis Jr just turned 40 and he is still handicapped by autism. This was my nightmare when he was younger. I felt that I had to help him overcome his autism. I felt that if others had succeeded with their children, that we would succeed with PJ, too. I was wrong. Some of us who received the crushing blow of the diagnosis of autism also received another crushing blow. Our child would not be one of those who would overcome their disability.

We worked at it. Teachers, therapists, his siblings and me. We all tried. We had to accept the fact that his deficits were more than we could overcome. There were many things that he could not do. There were many things that he didn’t understand and he could not operate above the level of his understanding. This was hard to accept and still is. I hope things have changed enough so that parents whose adult child is still handicapped by autism are not made to feel that they did not try hard enough or did not love their child enough to rescue him or her. We felt this pressure and this guilt.

Still, we taught him a lot. He is now pleasant and agreeable and follows directions if he understands them. He is not the person that I would have wanted him to be at age 40, but he is so much better than when  he started out. Before  1975, when he was born, people with his behaviors were put in institutions. They were heavily medicated or put in restraints. If he had been born a year earlier, he would have been one of them. It was in 1975 that the federal government ordered states to discontinue putting people in large institutions. These places were little more than warehouses for people with severe behaviors or mental problems. Thank God, we were saved from that.

He taught me a lot, too. He taught me about unconditional love. He loves me no matter what I’m wearing, how my hair looks, if I have had my shower and many other things that we are so judgmental about. So I have learned to not be judgmental. He also taught me that some things can be tuned out. Everything  and everyone is not worthy of all your attention.   I have spent a great deal of my life trying to help my son overcome autism, so I have had to learn acceptance of what is.

The autism logo used to be a child’s face in a puzzle because it is such a puzzling disability. It is just as much a puzzle now as it was 40 years ago. Another puzzle is why the diagnosis has so greatly increased. I would never have predicted that autism would become more prevalent than less. My prediction would have been that we would have answers by now. We have more services, more therapists and more agencies that help with our people, but some of the services are so expensive that the average parent who is not rich can not take advantage of them. I have also been told that some of the services are by people who are more interested in making money than in helping our people.

I am now living in the Future that I was so afraid of. PJ still has autism, but I don’t. I feel that he did not become “cured’, but I did. I survived him and he survived me. I still love him just as much as I always did. There is a misperception that if your child does not overcome autism, they will not be loved as much as if they become “normal”. 

According to society’s standards, I have now become elderly. I may be elderly, but I am not “over the hill”.  I was over the hill, but I saw another hill. I feel that as long as there is autism in my life, there will always be another hill. I feel compelled to speak for my son since he can’t speak for himself. I feel compelled to try to help others who are now going through what I have been through. I remain “Inspired Ny Autism”.

I would like to leave you with a quote from one of my heroes, Dr Norman Vincent Peale.  “You can’t choose your circumstances, but you can choose how you react to them. Your attitude about the facts is more important than the facts. Once your perception of an object or a situation changes, the situation changes.” I have lived this.

Until next time, May the Power of God protect you; May the love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson. 

 

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MORC Caregiver Appreciation Day

Be ye not weary in well doing; for in due season you will reap if ye faint not. Galatians 6:9.

Let me repeat the title again. Caregiver Appreciation! Praise the Lord! Somebody cares. MORC and Kohl’s Department store care about caregivers. I appreciate them for appreciating us. I will show my appreciation by doing more shopping at Kohl’s.

MORC (Macomb-Oakland Regional Center) is an agency that provides a vast array of services to people with disabilities in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. They have been in business for over 30 years and their philosophy of service is based on the Gentle Teaching techniques. I have written about the impact that this technique had on me when  I was trying to adjust to my son’s autism. I had the privilege and the honor to study with Dr, John McGee at the University of Nebraska Psychiatric Hospital in 1987 when he was writing his book “Gentle Teaching”. 

Kohl’s Department Store and MORC together give the appreciation day by hosting a fashion show. Kohl’s provides the person with the disability and their caregiver with an outfit of their choice to wear in the fashion show. PJ and I went to Kohl’s, along with other caregivers and people with disabilities. We got to choose our outfits which we all get to keep after the show. I am very pleased with my choice and with PJ’s. Kohl’s has been providing the fashions for eight years, though this is the first year for PJ and me.

I saw the video from the last caregiver fashion show event. It was sold out and was well worth attending.  People with disabilities and their caregivers walked the runway together. I was so proud of everyone. They wore the latest fashions and everyone did a good job.  People with disabilities are often overlooked, but you could see from their smiles how happy they were to be the models.  I am proud to be included this year. PJ is not very aware of the importance of the event, but I am sure?  (I am hoping) that on the day he will enjoy his new clothes and the event.

This year’s event is on Thursday, May 14 from 9:30 am to 1:30p.m. It will be held at Palazzo Grande Banquet Center, 54660 Van Dyke Ave, Shelby Township, MI. I hope this is a sell-out as well. One of the goals of the Pervis Foundation is to thank the caregivers, so this fits right in with our goals.

Pervis Sr, would have loved this event. He would proudly walk the runway with Pervis Jr. He was always proud of PJ, even when I wasn’t. I am proud now because I know about all that PJ had to overcome. All of our people with disabilities have overcome a great deal, as have their caregivers. May the Force be with us.

Until next time: May the Power Of God protect you. May the love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson

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Pervis Foundation April 10 Fundraiser

“As you have done it unto the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.  Matthew 25:40

That scripture is the guiding principle for the Pervis Jackson Foundation. Why did we start the foundation? The answer is to help children with  any handicap, not just autism. We are talking about inner-city, lower income children. Not all, but most. These are the children that we do not see because of their conditions and income. I feel that it is my duty, my responsibility and my privilege to try to help these children.

We are having our annual fundraiser on Friday April 10 at the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle. It will be from 6 to 10 p.m. and tickets have to be purchased in advance. You can get tickets by contacting me at jacksonclaudreen@sbcglobal.net. The price is $60.00.  If you want to come but can not afford it, let me know and we may be able to help.  We would love to see you there. It is a privilege to have the Detroit Yacht Club offered to us for our fundraiser.

My problem is that I need help to help these children, which is why fundraisers are necessary.  Though I am not good at fundraising, I have discovered that there are a lot of people who want to help others. Bless you all who have helped with your attendance and your donations  and I hope that you give yourself credit for helping the less fortunate. For helping someone who really needs your help.

I also do this because my mentor, Pervis Jackson Sr. wanted to help children like our son, He pushed and prodded me to write “Inspired By Autism” and to start the Pervis Foundation. Of course, I was supposed to have his help in these endeavors. We had no idea that he would not be around to see any of this. He felt that as a public figure, it was his duty to make a contribution where it was most needed. Trouble is, I am not a public figure, so it has been more difficult than I anticipated.

The Pervis Foundation is having a financial setback, but we are committed to keeping the foundation going and to continue helping others. I know first-hand how important it is for lower income children to have some of the support that children of higher income have. I know first hand the obstacles and struggles that parents face, whatever the income. I’ve been there and survived to tell about it.

I want to include a poem that I have written about our children. I included it before, but it bears repeating. It is also among the poems in “Inspired By Autism”.

“Special “Special” Kid”              (With thanks to Rogers and Hart)

You are my little special child, my funny valentine. / An accident of Providence, or are you by design?

It matters not the answer, for you are here with me. / That you’re not like the other kids is mighty plain to see.

But you are a worthy person, who has come a long. long way. / Helping you has helped me grow to where I am today.

There’s something I must tell you, though the words are nothing new. / They’ve been sung so many times. I say them now to you.

“Is your figure less than Greek? Is your mouth a little weak? / When you open it to speak, are you smart?

Though other folks may think you odd, you’re my favorite work of art. / My funny little valentine, you’ve slipped into my heart.

Until next time; May the Power of God protect you; May the Love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson

 

 

 

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Vaccines and Autism/ The Vaccine Debate

I am so sorry about the parents who are afraid to have their children immunized for fear that the vaccine causes autism. I know their fear, although I had no fear when my son, Pervis Jr was vaccinated in 1976. He was developing , learning and growing until he got his vaccination. I was told that he might get sick for a few days, but it would pass. He did get sick and after that, things were never the same.

I want to add my voice to the conversation because I am on both sides of the debate. Yes, I believe that the vaccine was responsible for his condition, but no, I do not want the vaccines to stop. In my book, “Inspired By Autism” I mentioned that if we stop the vaccines, we would have a whole other problem, which we are beginning to see now with the measles outbreaks.

Those of us parents who feel that the vaccine was the cause feel that way because there was a sudden, drastic change in our child after the vaccination. We know that it changed our child. I have four children who were vaccinated, but Pervis Jr is the only one who is handicapped by autism, so I don’t feel that the vaccine is the only cause, but there is something that we can’t figure out.

The cause of autism is just as much a mystery today as it was in 1976 when Pervis Jr was diagnosed. One day I had a smiling happy son and in the next few days, he became unhappy, aggressive and started losing some of the gains he had been making, such as learning to talk and sleeping all night. Other parents of children with autism had the same experience.  We were devastated by this change in our child.

I have wrestled with the answer to the vaccine question for almost 40 years, but I still feel that it was the beginning of the end for my happy, healthy child. In the early 1980s , a reporter for one of our TV stations did a report about improper storing of the vaccine that was used in the state of Michigan in 1976. He said that some of the children who received vaccinations that year came down with handicapping conditions, including autism. I tried to follow up and talk to the reporter, but he was let go from the station and I could get no further information.

I am so sorry that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the British doctor who wrote that there was a connection between the vaccines and autism lost his license. I am not sure that he deserved this because he was responding to many requests from parents to find out if there was a connection. Some of us parents  still feel that there is a connection, but stopping the immunizations is not the answer.

I am old enough to know how important immunizations have been in eradicating highly contagious diseases. Parents of younger children who don’t want them immunized don’t know the history of these diseases. My heart breaks for them because I understand their fear. I also understand the fear of parents who do get the immunizations for their children.

I have not read his book, but Dr. Bob Sears has written “The Vaccine Book”, in which he suggests delaying some of the vaccines and spreading them out. I saw Dr Sears being grilled by Chris Hayes on his TV show . I thought that Chris was too hard on him, because Dr Sears is trying to help with the solution.  I don’t know if this is the solution, but Dr Sears is not the first doctor to suggest this.  I don’t profess to have any answers.  I have been struggling with questions about this situation for almost 40 years.

Parents on both sides of the issue have the Desire to do the right thing for their child.  It is one of the most important decisions we have to make, not only for our own child, but for others. We want to do what is Right, but the condition of autism is still the mystery that it was in 1976 when my son was diagnosed, so there is no clear Right.

When you try to do right, you are doing your best.

May the Love of God enfold you; May the Power of God protect you.

Claudreen Jackson

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More About The Pervis Jackson Autism Foundation

“As  you have done it unto the least of my brethren; ye do it also unto me”.  Matthew 25:40

When Pervis Sr was alive, we often discussed what we could do for children with disabilities. We knew first hand the difficulties and challenges that these children faced. We knew the challenges and disappointments that their parents faced. He was a public figure and felt that we had a responsibility to help. I felt the same responsibility. But what should we do?

We decided to start a fund to pay for camp for children whose parents could not afford it. Camp is good for both the mother and the child. It gives the mother respite and gives the child a growth experience. The first time that I took Pervis Jr to camp, he cried and fought to go home with me. I felt so guilty leaving him there that I worried about him the whole time he was gone. However, when I picked him up at the end of the week, I saw a different little boy. He was calm and happy.

We realized that some parents had more immediate needs than camp, so we decided to provide the grants to the parents and let them decide how to use it. Just as we were getting it off the ground, Pervis passed away. I was devastated about all our plans. What was I to do? I decided to try to implement his plans without him. Thanks to volunteers who help me on the board of directors and the advisory board, we have been able to help children and their parents.

I want to share with you some of our accomplishments. Since we began in 2009, we have:

* bought matching T-shirts for parents and children enrolled in the Children’s Center     Program in Detroit.

* paid for spa days for parents and splash camps for children being served by the Autism   Collaborative Center at Eastern Michigan University. (ACC-EMU).

* helped with expenses at St. Francis Camp, one of only two camps in the state that serve all ages and all disabilities. Pervis Jr has attended that camp for over 20 years.

* Paid for refreshments for parent support group meetings.

* Granted a Christmas wish for children served by the Detroit Institute for Children

* Helped individual parents pay for insurance; medication; therapies; camp.

* Published a calendar featuring children with special needs.

I want to thank all of our supporters who have helped me with fund-raising and made generous donations. We could not have accomplished this without you.

But I do want to say that you do not have to start a foundation to help children with disabilities. Do you have a friend or a relative who is raising a child with a disability? Could you take them dinner a couple of times a month? Could you take them to a park or other outing when the weather is nice? Could you offer to child-sit for an afternoon to give the parent a break?

I decided that I needed to do something good in the world to balance out some of the bad that is being done in the world. I am in my 70s, so I don’t know how much time or energy that I have left, but I have been blessed to be able to help others as others have helped me. I will continue to do what I can.

Until next time; May the Power of God protect you. May the Love of God enfold you.

Claudreen Jackson

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