The Writing On The Wall: A Mother Tries To Reach Her Autistic Son

Jul 29, 2017

This segment originally aired March 4, 2017.

Sometimes a mess serves a very special purpose. For the Pyles family in Lake Stevens, Wash., words scrawled across their home help them communicate with their son, Jessie.

Eight year old Jessie Pyles is autistic. He makes lots of noises, squeals and squeaks, but he doesn’t talk. From the outside, their family home looks like a typical suburban house. However, once you step inside, your eyes get a little scrambled.

 

The modest size house feels smaller because of all of the writing on the walls. Words from Disney movies, Dr. Seuss books, numbers, the names of colors are written in Sharpie and dry-erase marker on every surface.

What would inspire some people to make a run on cleaning supplies does not phase Jessie’s mom, Cheryl Pyles.

 

For Cheryl, this is a way to reach her son. She and her husband noticed Jessie was different when he was just 14 months old.

 

After Jessie's autism diagnosis, Cheryl quit her job as a garden manager at a supermarket to become her son's full-time care-giver. Still, she was determined to communicate with him.

 

Even though he doesn't speak, Jessie loves words.

 

"If we could get a full-length movie of just credits, that would be heaven for him," said Cheryl.

 

Jessie hates the sensation of pencil on paper. However, one day Cheryl found 4-year old Jessie writing the word 'Miramax' from memory on his bedroom wall.

 

"I just had to go with it and embrace it because he was writing. Random things keep showing up all the time," said Cheryl.

 

Sound Effect host Jennifer Wing visited the Pyles home to talk with Cheryl about her unique approach to communicating with Jessie and how she hopes her son will find a voice in the future.