Jenni "JWoww" Farley was prepared to leave the filming of Jersey Shore Family Vacation this season to help her 2-year-old son, Greyson, who has not yet hit certain milestones in speech development for children.
Fans will remember from the season 2 premiere that Farley tearfully discussed her younger child's struggle during a conversation filmed with husband Roger Matthews, with whom she also shared 4-year-old daughter Meilani Alexandra.
Wednesday, she told PEOPLE that she did that because she was worried she'd have to stop filming and go home to her son.
“When I originally did that with Jersey Shore, I only did it, not as an excuse, but to tell my side of the story in case I had to truly leave the show. You know, mom guilt was kicking in,” she explained.
“It’s very much like [pregnant Deena Cortese], how she didn’t go to Vegas. It was just telling my side of the story. But I didn’t realize the thousands of people that would respond to it,” she continued, adding that she'll "never forget" the moment she first noticed her son's speech delay when he was almost 16 months old.
“One day I was in the kitchen and looking at Greyson and Meilani. I said, ‘Greyson, Greyson’ and he wasn’t responding. It really came down to him not responding to his name,” she said. After hearing tests came back "normal," Farley realized that "there's an issue."
“Funny enough, he didn’t qualify for the speech therapy because technically we don’t even know if he has a speech issue,” she said. “So right now he does behavioral and occupational therapy three days a week to try and connect the dots.”
In addition to therapy and sign-language classes, Farley said she also finds solutions at home, like in her family's diet.
“I changed my family’s diet. I removed sugar, gluten and preservatives — anything that would cause inflammation, and certain types of milk. Dairy in general,” she said. “I’m really trying to do an overall wellness and health evaluation on both of them in the most positive way to give them both a fighting chance.”
In the meantime, Greyson's development has made process, she says.
“Whether it’s a diet change or therapy, we’ll never know, but he is improving so much that it’s wonderful to see. He doesn’t really call Mommy ‘Mommy’ or Daddy ‘Daddy.’ But he will try and mimic us,” Farley says proudly, jokingly adding, “Roger said ‘s—’ and [Greyson] repeated him. I’m hoping he doesn’t know what he just said. My daughter sure as hell does.”
Farley said she wants to help other parents on a similar journey.
“Bringing awareness to all the fans, parents, non-parents and grandparents and literally having their eyes open-minded through this process, that’s my end game," she said. "My goal in my life is to bring awareness to the little things in life that we can ultimately change for our future generations."
Season 2 of Jersey Shore Family Vacation airs Thursdays on MTV at 8 p.m. ET.