"He lost his words," she Nike Shoes Blue And White
The diagnosis was difficult for Peg and Brian. They didn't know what to do there wasn't a cure and a way to treat autism at the time. They didn't have any sort of visual of what life would be like their son. Only one place in the Twin Cities offered services for people with autism at the time and Peg drove 500 miles a week with her five small children for services for Jimmy. Brian took a leave of absence from his job and hit the road with Jimmy in search of an organization that could help them.
His Cubist art in pastel, pencil and paint are scattered around the room, each one containing "JIMMY" in his block handwriting, a sign that he has completed the piece.
His unique talent gives those around him possibilities. Peg and Jimmy's father Brian were approached at an Amplatz Children's Hospital fundraiser by parents who were filled with hope for their 7 year old child with autism after seeing Jimmy speak at the fundraiser. The doctors who treated Jimmy as a child are reminded by his painting hanging in their office to treat their patients with autism differently.
She spent two hours crying after that realization.
Eye contact is elusive for him, a sign of his autism. Language is also a barrier for him, his mother Peg Schneeman Reagan explained. He speaks and understands what others say to him, but carrying on a conversation is challenging because he can't retrieve the words from his mind when he needs them.
After Christmas in 2008, he entered the Edina school district through open enrollment. The goal was to have Jimmy attend school in the classroom, but that lasted two weeks. Edina tutor Ron Spoeltra works with Jimmy five days a week.
Peg wiped away tears as she recalled the horrified look on Jimmy's face 16 years ago. "I thought, 'He can't say my name and he knows it.'"
Before the diagnosis, they had begun noticing different behaviors in Jimmy. Brian traveled for work four days a week and noticed Jimmy stopped running to the back door with his two older siblings when he returned home from work. Then Jimmy got a really green nose infection.
Peg reflected, "That has to translate into solutions and better care."
Jimmy also lives with health problems including food and airborne allergies, and stomach and immune system problems. Peg said they knew he had to be pulled out of school while he was in the Mendota Heights school district because he was too sick. At his lowest, he had 62 pounds on his 5 foot 9 body. He is still thin, but his health is now stable, Peg said.
Men, women and animals in bright colors fill his canvases. They harken back to the work of Vincent Van Gogh or Pablo Picasso. But there is one feature that ties all of them together: expressive eyes stare intently at the viewer.
At the time, people didn't treat children with autism as smart human beings, Peg recalled. Jimmy has a normal IQ. Now, people with autism are seen as citizens who can contribute to society.
Peg and Brian were told when Jimmy was diagnosed with autism in 1996 that he would be institutionalized by the time he was 10. They had never heard of autism before the diagnosis.
"For Jim, art allows him to have a conversation with people without having a conversation," she said.
Art changes how the world sees Jimmy Reagan
Brian said they needed to get Jimmy checked out by a doctor when he noticed Jimmy wasn't talking like their two older children. The doctor said he probably wasn't speaking as much because the older children were talking for him and he was developmentally ahead of where he should be. Jimmy then had five surgeries.
It was a March day in 1996 when Peg knew something was wrong.
After a neurologist ruled out a seizure disorder, a psychologist told Peg and Brian that Jimmy had high functioning regressive autism.
With the increasing notoriety of his art, he is beginning to receive the basic respect deserved by a human being that has been elusive since he was diagnosed with autism at age 2.
Jimmy's art has a different feel and story to it than other artwork, Peg said.
The 18 year old Edina High School student began painting in 2010 and, although he's been homebound at his parents' home in Mendota Heights for the past few years, he attends art classes at the high school three times a week.
may be biological. Peg concluded, "It's hard to know. The science isn't there yet."
His work has been exhibited in the Twin Cities and he is currently a featured guest artist at a Berlin, Germany, exhibit of up and coming artists. He's sold several paintings, some for as much as $7,500. University of Minnesota President Eric Kalar and his Girls Nike Shoes High Tops
In art, no words are necessary, allowing Jimmy to have a direct connection to the people around him.
"Art is changing the way people treat him and think about him," she said. "Because of his language and behavior, people treat him like he's 2 or severely mentally handicapped. I can't imagine how frustrating that is for him."
She told him that if he said "mama," she would lift him out of his crib.
It was during his illness when Peg met Edina Director of Special Services Penny Kodrich. Jimmy was really struggling and Kodrich suggested Edina's special education staff could help Jimmy.
wife Karen purchased his painting "Girl With Leaves" and it is the only non Wiesman Museum piece hanging on the first floor of Eastcliff, the official residence of the university's president.
How or if his illnesses are connected to autism isn't known. Some children with autism struggle with physical ailments and some don't. Environmental factors may be contributing to the illnesses or it Shoes Nike For Girls
Peg said she sometimes hears parents who have a child with autism wish their child had Nike Sneakers Limited Edition a different developmental disability because other disabilities don't include behaviors that keep children from participating in family activities.
said of that day.
Jimmy Reagan sits on a brown couch, singing as he presses the brightly colored pencils into sketchbook paper to draw a face comprised of geometric shapes.
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