Faces of Laradon: Tami & Jevon’s Story

When Tami looks at her son Jevon, Jay for short, you can feel her sense of pride and gratitude. Gratitude for the journey, for the lessons learned, and for the indomitable spirit of her son.

While she recognizes Jay’s diagnosis is part of their lives, she sees beyond it. She sees hope. She sees the testament to the power of a mother’s love. And, she is reminded that with patience and perseverance, anything is possible.

Jay, now 23 years old, was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old.

Tami vividly remembers the whirlwind of emotions that had engulfed her when she first heard the news. It was a moment frozen in time, etched into her memory with both fear and determination.

Amidst the uncertainties and the discouraging words of naysayers, Tami refused to accept defeat. “He won’t have a quality of life,” is what Tami was told at the time.

But Tami knew better. She believed in her son, in his potential, in his right to thrive.

“I just wanted him to be happy. I didn’t care what anyone else thought. Whatever it is he needs to make his life successful, I was determined to make possible,” Tami recalls.

Tami quickly found ways to help Jay embark on his journey of growth and discovery. She got him into school as quickly as possible and got connected to The Adams Camp. Tami even moved across the city to get him into the Cherry Creek School District, which was one of the only districts at that time that had an integrated learning classroom setting.

“It was so overwhelming, and I fought constantly. A lot more people get it now,” Tami remembers.

Tami faced numerous hurdles, battling misconceptions and prejudices along the way. But she refused to let anyone define her son’s future.

“I worked my schedules around so I could be there in the drop of a dime at school if he was struggling. I wanted to support him 24/7, all the time,” Tami shares. “I just wanted him to have a normal as possible— in his world—  life and I don’t even want to say ‘normal’. He has done most things most typical kids did— we just learned the hard way,” Tami shares.

Through it all, Tami built a support team, a dedicated army of advocates who shared her vision of a bright and inclusive future for Jay. Together, they navigated the complexities of autism, learning and evolving with each milestone, setback and IEP meeting.

With Tami’s love and support, Jay’s world has become a kaleidoscope of colors— with red being his most beloved of all the colors. 

He graduated from high school in 2019, has participated in almost every Special Olympics sport, and lettered in Special Olympics basketball.

“We were always there cheering him on like it was the Super Bowl,” Tami chuckles.

Those who know Jay also know his love for Thomas the Train.

“Whoever introduced him to Thomas the Train owes me a lot of money,” Tami laughs again.

And, his love of swimming.

“He is a huge fish. He loves being in the water,” Tami says.

Shortly after graduation, Jay enrolled at the Laradon School,  where he became a beloved favorite of Classroom 10.

“At Laradon he just blossomed. He did his ‘Meals on wheels’, he rode in the van, he did activities. I loved hearing all the things that he did. His personality just shone through when he got to Laradon. You got to see him for who he was,” Tami says.

Jay graduated from the Laradon School in 2021. Tami and him are still a part of the Laradon community through Laradon’s Family Care Giver Program— which allows individuals to receive their services directly from a family member, with paid support.

Together, they stand as living proof that with patience, perseverance, and unwavering belief, anything is possible. Tami and Jevon both know that no matter what challenges may come their way, they will face them together, through a mother’s love that is limitless.

Laradon’s Family Care Giver Program allows individuals to receive their services directly from a family member, with paid support. Paid support may include housekeeping, bathing, dressing, and meal planning. 

Learn more here



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