Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Someone special.

Today, I opened up my Google Reader to find this story about a girl who won an iPad for her brother, who is autistic.

"Her 14-year-old brother Andrew has autism, and iPads have many applications that are helpful for learning. He is in Grade 10 at the same school.

"My brother is struggling in school, so I'm hoping that we can find good applications on there that would hopefully help him," Tricia says. "Right now his teachers have been coming to my parents and saying, 'I don't know if he'll be able to pass this, he's kinda not paying attention in class.' But the problem is that my brother is very visual. A lot of people don't understand that's the reason he's not paying attention - and they're not giving him the help he needs. I'm hoping that with the iPad, we can find something that will help the teachers learn how to teach him better.""

In this world, how many siblings would do that? Invest time in a competition with an awesome electronic prize (the most highly sought after 'toy', without a doubt), worth hundreds of dollars... without for a moment thinking it would be for themselves.

Then I read about Miss Minnesota Natalie Davis, who is up for Miss America this year. Her platform? Autism. Because her brother is autistic.

She blogs about her brother:
My brother Trevor has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) called Asperger’s Syndrome. My passion for autism stems from my personal connection to the condition. First and foremost, I serve as a supportive sister. I have been Trevor’s swimming teacher, tutor, coach, advocate and best friend.

Her experiences with her brother have lead her to create social skills programs in her hometown for other children. From the article: "Trevor’s struggle to make friends and his success in doing so after enrolling in a social skills class inspired me to found Awesome Club, a social skills program for special needs children that meets weekly in the Northfield School District, near where I attend St. Olaf College. I wrote a program proposal, met with the district’s autism specialist, special education teachers and superintendent, and solicited volunteers from my college. Since its inception, Awesome Club has experienced tremendous growth. It began with four students and four volunteers. Four years later, Awesome Club now serves over 30 special needs students at two different schools."

How amazing is that?!

I see Audrey all over these girls. She is truly JT's best friend, she is his biggest supporter. She sat through every therapy session with her brother, sometimes taking his hands in hers to force him to do signs so he would get what she knew he wanted. She copied the therapists after they would leave, using all kinds of toys and games to entice him to just play with her. She constantly puts him first, even though she's only 7.

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