Autism Journey: A Known Diagnosis is Worth the Drive

Being a parent is a difficult task, especially when there are questions that are not being answered by doctors. Frustrated parents, Jordan and Jomar, didn’t understand why their son was distant.

“He would be aggressive and didn’t like kisses or hugs,” his mom Jordan said. “He was very difficult and just wanted to be alone in his own world.”

After countless visits with multiple pediatricians, the couple still didn’t have any answers.

“I would tell the doctors that something is wrong with my kid, but they would tell me everything is fine,” Jordan said.

A mother’s intuition told her to keep looking. That search brought the family from Eloy all the way to our clinics in Phoenix last May where they finally got the help they needed.

Their four-year-old son Jayden was diagnosed with autism thanks to our Pediatrician, Dr. Clifford Gross, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of autism. Once Jayden started treatment, the changes Jordan and Jomar saw in their son were almost instantaneous.

 

“He randomly comes and gives me kisses,” said dad, Jomar, of the changes he noticed in just one month.

The family first heard about Mountain Park Health Center when Jomar came to us for some dental care. After getting nowhere with pediatricians in their area, Jordan and Jomar decided to bring their kids to our Atkinson Clinic where they met Nurse Practitioner, Dale Manzoeillo. She immediately knew she could help find the answers Jordan and Jomar were looking for and referred them to Dr. Gross at our Maryvale Clinic.

“The first day we came here and Dr. Gross saw Jayden, the diagnosis was quick and precise. He understood us,” said Jomar.

Roughly one in every 59 kids will be diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Mountain Park is one of only a few community health centers in the state with a provider specially trained to diagnose autism.

“It’s definitely something that anyone who works in healthcare is going to come across,” Dr. Gross said. “I think we’re pretty uniquely suited to be able to provide a lot of resources and support [to families] and be a good medical home for those patients.”

“If those other doctors would have worried and done a good job, my kids would’ve been diagnosed sooner,” said Jordan. “It wasn’t until we came here that we got the help we needed.”

The family says they would make the more than hour-long drive to our clinics weekly because they love the great care we give them. Both boys now have regular visits with Dr. Gross, our registered dietitians and behavioral health consultants to help them best move forward with autism. 

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Jordan and Jomar with their two sons, Jayden and Jariel, at our Maryvale Clinic.

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