Taking on autism
Jessica Glover hopes to be a champion for children on the autism spectrum, like her son Cade
By Christina Lent
The Beaverton Valley Times, Nov 27, 2008
Cade Glover has regained his engaging personality after a switch in diet. His mother Jessica is on a mission to share the lessons she’s learned with Cade to help other children with autism.
Jessica Glover is on a personal quest to change opinions about autism on a local and national level.
She and her family moved to Beaverton from Bend eight weeks ago to launch Autism Resources of Beaverton, a non-profit resource agency dedicated to autism and advocacy, and to work with the Beaverton School District to open its first K-12 charter school for autism spectrum children.
The 27-year-old mother of four children also opened an in-home Sun Drops Child Care and Preschool for children on the autism spectrum.
Her focus on autism awareness and advocacy is one from the heart.
Glover’s son Cade was diagnosed with autism when he was 22 months old after going in two months before for vaccinations.
“When I went to the health department in Central Oregon, they told me they wanted to ‘catch him up’ on his vaccinations,” Glover recalled. “They gave him 12 at one time.
“When I took him home, his fever spiked to 102, 103, 104 and 105. I took him to the emergency room four times in six days. In two weeks, he stopped walking and talking and regressed to an infant. Before that, he was a very typical, very healthy baby.”
Over the next couple months, Glover began to notice other changes in her once “very loving, adorable, cuddle bug.”
Cade had been really excited about the coming birth of his baby sister Maycie, often asking questions and feeling his mom’s expanding tummy. But when Maycie was born, his previous interest was nonexistent.
“For two months he never kissed or touched her,” Glover said as she fought back tears. “I knew then that something was wrong because by that point he had stopped looking at us.
“All of a sudden he wanted nothing to do with us. He didn’t want to be held or kissed and we’d find him buried in his room under blankets. He also started to fixate on things like lining up all his toys or playing with his trains for eight hours at a time.”
At that point, Glover began seeking answers for the differences in his personality and behavior.
“Something inside me started this personal quest,” Glover recalled.
After extensive research and reading, “Unraveling the Mystery of Autism,” the business woman’s life focus shifted.
She began using holistic methods she found in her research to help her son.
“I took him off of dairy and within a week he started walking,” Glover said. “It was like a veil had lifted.
“A week into his new diet, he said, ‘Mama,’ and I about died. From there I cut out gluten and the words just started flowing. Within that week he also stopped obsessing over things. He would drink out of different cups. He wanted to interact with the family again and started loving on his baby sister.”
Glover cherished each new development.
“It was like he had been in a cave for 18 months,” she recalled. “Now he is the most loving child – it’s like he’s making up for lost time.”
It became Glover’s mission to start Autism Resources in Bend and help other families convert autism children’s diets over to gluten- and dairy-free.
“I needed to share this with as many people as possible,” she said.
That thought led her to dreaming of opening a school that would not follow the common Applied Behavioral Analysis model used in many public schools.
Her dream school for children like Cade would have a natural setting, where teachers and specialists would work one-on-one with students, figure out their allergies and focus on their abilities rather than their disabilities.
“By sitting with them one-on-one you can help them with their social skills by getting them to use their words to say how they are feeling or having them draw a picture to express their emotions,” she said.
The school would also offer all organic food, not require immunizations, follow a pattern of daily routines rather than a strict schedule and expose students to art, music and outdoor activities like gardening.
That vision became so clear that Glover looked for the ideal place to open a charter school.
Beaverton is that place, she said, “because it has one of the highest autism rates in the nation.”
“There is an entire lost generation of kids that are lost in public school systems across the nation because they were mainstreamed and there is no funding for supporting these kids,” Glover said. “There is a big group of teenagers who are hurting.
“It’s important to work with autistic children when they are young and focus on their abilities. These children are gifted in their own ways.”
Glover is in the process of laying the ground work for opening a charter school tailored for autism spectrum children in Beaverton.
The idea to offer an alternative option for students has gained the interest of both the Educational Service District and Beaverton School District.
“They are both helping me so much because they want a different option for these kids,” Glover said. “The responses I’ve had so far have been wonderful. Families have really welcomed me with open arms.
“We all want these kids to feel like there is a group of people here who love and support them.”
Ideally, she’d like to open a charter school near Beaver Acres Elementary School in August 2009, just as Cade enters kindergarten.
But there is a lot to accomplish between now and then, including an extensive review process by the Beaverton School District.
“There are a lot of people in Beaverton that need another option for their children, so this will be very good for the community,” Glover said.
As for Cade, he’s doing very well, she said as the young man bounced from one inflatable activity to the next at Pump It Up Jr.! in Beaverton.
“My biggest goal is to find what he likes and is passionate about,” Glover said. “I want him to be able to one day be able to make a living doing what he loves, be able to live on his own and ultimately be able to relay his feelings with others.”
HT: Anne Dachel
UPDATE: Jessica dropped by and left this comment:
"Hey :) this is Jessica Glover Cades mom (the one in the article.)
Hindsight is always 20/20.
The silver lining is that Cade is doing very well and he is a jewel. My personal mission is to create a concept learning environment for these kids. My ultimate goal is to see the vaccine companies and government pay for it.... that is a dream. Until then we are fund raising and grant seeking. Bio-med intervention has helped Cade so much. He will grow to be a great Man who changes the way the World perceives these Children. Much like your precious Son. I refuse to label Cade. Thanks for all you do! "