Battling Bruin: Jaden

Posted February 2019

Meet Jaden Presley White. He was born on Dec. 2, 2002 and just celebrated his 16th birthday. Jaden lives in Texas, on the Gulf Coast not far from Houston. Jaden was born happy, beautiful and determined and hit is developmental milestones earlier than indicated in all the baby books and physician checkups. Jaden began sitting up at 4 months, crawling at 6 months, and standing and walking at 7 months. Talking quickly followed. He suffered from ear infections and was sick after every well check it seemed, but he was a healthy baby other than that.

The evening following a doctor’s appointment just after his first year’s well-check, Jaden became sick with a high fever, which marked the point at which he would never be the same. He immediately lost his ability to communicate and interact with others and became socially withdrawn. Jaden struggled with anxiety along with severe sensitivity to his surroundings. His little world was turned upside down. Jaden was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old. The fight of his life began as he would learn the basics of everyday life and begin his lifelong healing journey.

This diagnosis ignited an emergency need to help my son and get back who he was. We researched and tried everything we could to help Jaden. We traveled the country to find the best doctors and therapists to provide the best treatment and, along the way, encountered many professionals who helped us face the challenges posed by his disorder.

As the years go by, Jaden’s journey continues. He suffers from many challenges: aside from being nonverbal, Jaden has difficulties with his concentration and learning. Although finding alternative ways to communicate and learn have been difficult, Jaden has made immense progress in both of these skill sets.

Even with his disabilities, Jaden is a FIGHTER! He is energetic, caring, intuitive and kind and a happy young man! He loves animals, swimming, the outdoors, food (esp. Chick-fil-A) and -- most of all -- his family. There is something special when your child cannot communicate with words and, instead, you’re blessed with a hug or a smile as his way to communicate. Everyone who meets Jaden loves him. Jaden has taught our family many valuable lessons. We are so grateful for this young man who will neither give up nor let autism win!

Jaden’s step-sister, Alexandra Adams, attends UCLA majoring in psychology and is a cheerleader and co-captain of the UCLA Cheer Squad. Jaden loves when he gets to watch Alexandra cheering on TV.

Caring for an autistic child is emotionally, mentally and physically draining, but that does not change the love of a mother for her son. Jaden, his parents, family, friends and loved ones will continue to learn and grow in our struggle battling Autism. It is very nice when someone offers help or sometimes just a kind smile. We all need a help and encouragement from time to time. Go Bruins, and go Jaden!

— Misty Adams

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