Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Unexpected Rewards

Today in our family, we celebrate the birth of our oldest - Brett.

Brett turns 17 today!  Hard to believe. 

I used to laugh when I heard OLD people saying things like "time sure does fly". 

But as I gracefully age (big smile), I find myself saying the very same thing. 

It really does seem like just yesterday when Brett was a little guy, and now I turn around and he is 17 and not so little.  His conversations have turned into conversations about college, jobs, majors.... and I can't believe we are 'there' already.

Brett is such a blessing to our family.  He can light up a room with his smile!  He has such a quiet, gentle and caring spirit about him.  And he has this stubborn streak (must have gotten it from his dad) that is soooooo strong.  We call that DETERMINED around here.

As Brett enters his last year of childhood, and prepares to enter adulthood, I can absolutely say that the world is a better place because of him being in it!! 

And one of the things that has shaped Brett into the young man he is today, is having a brother with autism.

Being a sibling of a person with autism is not easy. 

Research will say it comes with:
  • embarrassment (with peers, in the community)
  • guilt
  • isolation, loneliness, loss
  • resentment
And that is all true....

But having a sibling with autism also creates UNUSUAL OPPORTUNITIES and even at time UNEXPECTED REWARDS.

It shapes siblings into people who have a very different view of life and of people.

For Brett, I can tell that having Jared for his brother has added these things to his life:
  • maturity
  • a caring perspective of others, in other words TOLERANCE
  • insight that the world does not center around our own personal wants and desires
  • a greater sense of appreciation for family and health and talents

One of my favorite things these days, is to see my two high school guys, get into the car and head off to high school in the mornings - on their own.
And Jared, who typically prefers mom to anyone else, will say "I wanna ride with Brett" when it's my days to drive them to school. 

That's how I know.....
Jared couldn't have a better BIG BROTHER!!!

Happy Birthday Brett!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Good Gardener

This week Jared began Community Based Instruction.  That basically means he is spending some of his "school week" out of the school building and in the community, all the while learning!

More technically:

Community Based Instruction is incorporated with the belief that every student, regardless of the severity of his/her disabilities, is capable of living, working and recreating in the community. 

Community Based Instruction is not a field trip.

Community Based Instruction is not simply exposure to environments.

For Jared, he spent some time on Friday landscaping!  He helped plant flowers and lay down mulch for a local business.  While doing all of this, he worked along side of others and had to continually practice his social and communication skills.

Jared's favorite part of the day... his teacher brought in some Little Caesar's pizza!

Mom's favorite part of the day.... loved seeing the SMILE on Jared's face in the photos from the day and when he got home from school.

Jared's impression of the day... "I am a good gardener!"

Mom's impression of the day... love that education is not always thought of as a student sitting at a desk with pen and paper!

We will call this one - A GOOD DAY!