Make your home page

Carmel family shares how they overcome son’s autism diagnosis

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – Shannan and John Penaflor noticed their son, JP, was no longer saying words like, “momma” and “dada” at 18 months old.

At the age of 3, JP’s parents had him evaluated, and was diagnosed with autism.

“JP is nonverbal,” said Shannan. She is the director of resources and support at Autism Society of Indiana. She said JP is now 10 years old and uses an app on his iPad to communicate with them. “He can tell us things he needs or communicate things he wants,” she explained.

The Centers for Disease Control listed cognitive and speech delay as a sign of autism, as well as unusual moods, getting upset with minor changes, and shaking their toys.

An IUPUI study from 2020, showed that one in 70 people in Indiana are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

“If your child has autism, find a community,” John said. “I’m part of a group called ‘Dads for Autism.’ Also, look into the Indiana Medicaid Waiver to help pay for resources,” he shared. Shannan continued, “It’s not based on income, but based on diagnosis.”