April 26, 2017
If you ask Becky Doyle, executive director for Epic Developmental Services in Trevose, about a moment that stands out to her during her time working with Jarod Vile—this month’s Epic Patient Superstar—she’s quick to recall Jarod’s re-enactment of the dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video. “He stood up in front of the entire camp at a talent show and knew every single move for that dance,” Becky says.
That was about eight years ago, and it’s moments like this that demonstrate just how far 15-year-old Jarod has come since being diagnosed with autism PDD-NOS at 2 ½ years old. Back then, Jarod was nonverbal and self-injurious. “It was very upsetting,” says Carole, Jarod’s mother.
Enter Clarity Group (now Epic Developmental Services): When Jarod was about 3 years old, he began receiving ABA-based services. Within three months, he spoke his first two words: “stop” and “no.” After that, there was no stopping this determined boy.
“If it wasn’t for us finding Robin, the fabulous behavioral consultant we had at the time, it wouldn’t have given him or us the opportunity to decrease his frustration,” Carole says. “I came to understand that behavior was Jarod’s voice, and we took what we saw and turned it around into communication and figured out what he was trying to tell us. As soon as we started to us PECS picture exchange, the frustration, aggression and self-injurious behaviors all decreased.”
Flash-forward two years: The aggressive behaviors were extinguished, and Jarod became fully verbal. “He’s a character,” says Becky, who used to work with Jarod as his ABA therapist about eight years ago. “In my head, he’ll always be 8 years old, but he’s a really cool young man now. He’s always been very funny and liked to make everyone laugh.”
Over the years, Jarod continued to receive support from Epic Developmental Services throughout elementary and middle school. Now in 10th grade—and celebrating his 16th birthday this month—Jarod currently attends the Yale School in New Jersey, where he now receives all of his needed support services.
These days, Jarod has his sights set on becoming a deejay. “Music has always been his outlet and word-filler,” Carole says. “Now he’s fully verbal, but he still loves his music.”
On Jarod’s summer itinerary: a bowling league, which he has been talking about for weeks, and drawing, since he’s a great artist. He also gets along well with his twin brother, Billy. “They’re complete opposites, and they’ve always been into different things, so they never fight!” Carole says.
And while Carole has learned many things from her happy-go-lucky son, she says the biggest lesson she’s learned from Jarod is not to judge other people. “He’s taught me that you don’t always know what’s going on. I’ve learned not to say ‘you should have’ or ‘they should have.’ There’s no judgement anymore.”
We’re proud to call Jarod our Patient Superstar this month! Thank you, Jarod, for inspiring all of us over the years!
All feedback and testimonials were unsolicited. This client was served by Epic Developmental Services from November 2003 to August 2014.