Jenni 'JWoww' Farley Revealed Son's Speech Delay on Jersey Shore in Case She 'Had to Leave' Show
Before any other job, Jenni “JWoww” Farley is first and foremost a mom.
And this summer, while filming Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, the mother of two thought about leaving production to focus on parenting her 2-year-old son Greyson Valor, who has yet to hit certain milestones for the normal development of speech and language skills in children.
In the Aug. 23 season 2 premiere, Farley tearfully revealed her younger child’s struggle during a conversation filmed between herself and husband Roger Mathews, with whom she also shares 4-year-old daughter Meilani Alexandra.
“When I originally did that with Jersey Shore, I only did it, not as an excuse, but to tell my side of the story in case I had to truly leave the show. You know, mom guilt was kicking in,” Farley, 32, tells PEOPLE of why she chose to tell viewers about her son, who was born on May 5, 2016.
“It’s very much like [pregnant Deena Cortese], how she didn’t go to Vegas. It was just telling my side of the story. But I didn’t realize the thousands of people that would respond to it,” she explains.
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Farley shares that she first noticed her son’s delay when he was 16 months old — a moment she will “never forget.”
“One day I was in the kitchen and looking at Greyson and Meilani. I said, ‘Greyson, Greyson’ and he wasn’t responding. It really came down to him not responding to his name,” the MTV star recalls.
After hearing tests at an ear, nose and throat doctor came back “normal,” Farley realized, “There’s an issue.”
“Funny enough, he didn’t qualify for the speech therapy because technically we don’t even know if he has a speech issue,” she shares with PEOPLE. “So right now he does behavioral and occupational therapy three days a week to try and connect the dots.”
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In addition to therapy and sign-language classes, Farley is taking matters into her hands by attempting to find solutions at home.
“I changed my family’s diet. I removed sugar, gluten and preservatives — anything that would cause inflammation, and certain types of milk. Dairy in general,” the Naturally Woww creator says. “I’m really trying to do an overall wellness and health evaluation on both of them in the most positive way to give them both a fighting chance.”
And Greyson’s development has made progress.
“Whether it’s a diet change or therapy, we’ll never know, but he is improving so much that it’s wonderful to see. He doesn’t really call Mommy ‘Mommy’ or Daddy ‘Daddy.’ But he will try and mimic us,” Farley says proudly, jokingly adding, “Roger said ‘s—’ and [Greyson] repeated him. I’m hoping he doesn’t know what he just said. My daughter sure as hell does.”
As her son continues to grow, Farley is becoming more passionate about helping other parents and family members who are coping with a similar journey.
“Bringing awareness to all the fans, parents, non-parents and grandparents and literally having their eyes open-minded through this process, that’s my end game,” she says of her goal to eliminate stigmatization of children.
“My goal in my life is to bring awareness to the little things in life that we can ultimately change for our future generations,” Farley adds.
Jersey Shore: Family Vacation airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on MTV.