Jacob Kokoruda is the inspiration behind Jacob's Team.
Jacob Daniel Kokoruda, was born on November 28, 2001, a younger brother to Riley Elizabeth who was a mere 17 months at the time of his arrival. He immediately molded right into our family as all babies seem to do. We were so excited to have a boy in our family! His first year of development seemed very typical as our memories and videos will prove. He started out as a very strong baby, alert and active. He smiled around 6 weeks, right on target, and wow what a great smile it was and still is! Around three months, Jacob reached all of his physical milestones such as rolling over from his stomach to his back. He had already been holding his head upright and visually following objects as you moved them in front of him. Soon after, we heard his laughter for the first time and it was a contagious laugh as it still is today.
Although Jacob walked at 11 months and physically kept meeting all of his milestones, his cognitive development became questionable after his first birthday. We began to notice that his eye contact was poor and his response to his name was almost non-existent. So as all parents do, we began to ask our doctors the appropriate questions beginning at his 15 month check-up. The response we always heard was, “He is a boy and your second child…he will catch up.” Of course this response sounded reassuring and it came from a doctor, so we had faith. By the time Jacob was two, words were few and unclear, his eye contact and name recognition continued to be inconsistent. At 25 months, our family welcomed another baby girl on Christmas Eve. We named her Karleigh Noel. As a third child, she made it clear she was here by crying for 8 months straight. Needless to say, our concerns for Jacob were distracted as we tended to our new bundle of joy.
By April, our concerns about Jacob were greater than ever. We scheduled an appointment with a different doctor in my practice for a special consultation. As I left my screaming Karleigh home with her dad and sister, I never imagined I would come home an hour later with the news I was given. The doctor was with Jacob for five minutes before she knew exactly what my other doctor had been missing all this time – Autism. The doctor asked me, have you ever heard of autism? Of course I had heard of it but me, my family it couldn’t be. She gave me a book to read and scheduled an appointment at the Yale Child Study Center immediately. By the end of May, Jacob had been temporarily diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What was that? Since then, we have learned so much about the Autism Spectrum and continue to do so. Jacob has been receiving intensive therapy since then and is currently in a typical kindergarten program. However, as a child with Autism we face many challenges as do all families with children with special needs. The hope of the foundation is to help provide financial support for families trying to tackle some of these challenges, in addition to, raise money for the diagnosis, treatment, and eventual cure for autism.
Jacob is the inspiration for this foundation! He is the happiest child we know and he loves to be with his family and friends. He makes everyone he meets smile as his joy resonates from his face. He is not only an inspiration to our family, but also to all the people he meets. Please join Jacobs Team and help give autism a louder voice in our society.
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