Photograph by Lester Boykin (2018)

When Jaylen was born, he was unresponsive. He had to be bought back to life, and he then started having seizures. Within 24 hours, he ad to be transferred to another hospital that had the specialty care he required. He stayed in that hospital for a month. During that time, he had a tube placed in his stomach, and he still has that today. Before his first birthday, Jaylen was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, acid reflux and several other conditions. He spent his early years of life in and out of the hospital. Today, Jaylen is 11, and there are fewer hospital visits and more good days than bad. He is a joy to be around – an amazing little boy with a smile bright enough to light up any room. His mother is very proud that Jaylen recently took a few steps without any assistance. A student at Lake Carolina Elementary school in Blythewood, his favorite things are his daddy, playing baseball, riding go-carts, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, eating Krispy Kreme donuts, riding his bicycle, jumping on the trampoline and anything involving water and traveling. His mother says that while they really don’t set goals for him, they are thankful for anything that Jaylen is able to do, no matter how small or big.

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Family Connection of South Carolina provides services and resources to families who have a child with a disability or specialized healthcare need. Since 1990 we have served more than 100,000 families and today our services are needed more than ever. We focus on parent-to-parent support, guidance with navigating the complex healthcare system, and assistance with school meetings and special education plans.

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