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Mother of autistic child turns to Toybox - KOAM TV 7

Mother of autistic child turns to Toybox

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The 24th annual Toybox campaign is again underway.  The Toybox helps families facing obstacles that get in the way of paying for Christmas.

Three year old Joseph Marshall was just diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a form of autism.  He's had seizures and other developmental disabilities as well.

He already receives physical therapy at the Barton County Memorial Hospital, but they're adding occupational and speech therapy too.

That means mom, Amanda Johnson, will make the trip three times a week.

Joseph also gets services at Ozark Center in Joplin and attends a special school in Jasper.

Amanda says it seems like all of their money goes to gas and she says his appointments make it impossible to get a full time job.

"It's kind of hard for a single mom to get a job because I'm the only there to provide and I want him to have the best," Amanda says.

Toys are also a part of Joseph's therapy, helping him learn colors, language and eye hand coordination.

Amanda says the Toybox can help not only Joseph, but her two other children as well - ages 12 and 8.

Amanda herself has worked with the Salvation Army and even ran a shelter after the tornado.

But this year, it is her family who could use a little help.

"We get by - we make sure he has everything he needs but we don't have - there's not money for movies, fun things," says Amanda.  "No matter what, Mom's going to try to give a little bit.  It would be nice for them to have a good Christmas."

CORRECTION:  KOAM incorrectly reported that Joseph's last name was Johnson.  In fact, his last name is Marshall.  Also, Amanda Johnson's other two children are not 13 and 19 - they are currently ages 12 and 8.

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