Jenni 'JWoww' Farley Wants to Help Fellow Parents of Kids with Autism: 'I Want to Break the Stigma'
Jenni "JWoww" Farley also gave an update about Greyson's "OCD tendencies," telling PEOPLE Now, "He's getting a lot better ever since that [December] post"
Jenni “JWoww” Farley is using her platform to raise awareness about autism.
The Jersey Shore: Family Vacation star recently visited the PEOPLE Now studios and opened up about how her 3½-year-old son Greyson Valor, who was diagnosed with autism in 2018, has inspired her to speak out about the “stigma” surrounding the developmental disorder.
“I feel very confident as a parent to put out all the milestones and I really just want to break the stigma,” Farley, 35, said. “But at the same time, there are always those backseat-driver parents — the people that want to tell you or insinuate that they know better. And they’re not in your lives 24/7.”
“So I just always try to stay above it, post the positive, because I really do want to help parents out there and I really do want to make a difference so when my son is older, even if the OCD tendencies are still there, the stigma’s gone,” she continued.
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The reality star, who also shares daughter Meilani Alexandra, 5½, with ex Roger Mathews, originally revealed on Instagram in December that Greyson was “experiencing OCD tendencies,” writing that she was “not sure” if the obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms “are related to his ASD [autism spectrum disorder] or just overlap.”
“Right now, we’re trying to break [the tendencies]. It’s hell,” Farley told PEOPLE Now. “He’s getting a lot better ever since that post but some days, like, he just wants to walk in a room a certain way.”
“And if you don’t do it, he needs you to actually start all over,” the mother of two added. “And I’m just like, ‘Well, we’re just gonna keep on walking,’ ’cause that’s not how you’re gonna live your life.’ And you can’t live your life like that, especially in public.”
Farley said she’s taking Greyson to a Disney park in April during National Autism Awareness Month, adding that it’s going to either be the “best week ever or it’s gonna be a disaster” and quipped, “I’ll get back to you on that.”
Farley has been open about Greyson’s journey since his diagnosis and September 2018 announcement that he wasn’t speaking yet. In addition, she continues to be proud of how far he has come.
In October, the mom of two shared a video update about Greyson’s progress since he began working with an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist earlier in 2019, saying he has made major strides after receiving the ABA therapy for a little over six months and gradually increasing the time with his We Care Autism therapist.
“Since he started with We Care Autism ABA services, [it] has been one hell of an experience,” Farley shared, adding that she fought her insurance company “to get the best of the best … for Greyson.”
Jersey Shore: Family Vacation airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on MTV.