Friday, July 11, 2014

"Little Brother"

     In today's blog, I want to focus on my youngest son David.
 It's not easy being a younger sibling of a kid with Autism. Robbie's sisters were 5 years older than him, and were built in babysitters. They babied Robbie and took care of him. Their friends were also babysitters, and one even became a Teacher of children with Autism.



   But David was 5 years younger than Robbie, and was afraid of his tantrums. His friends were afraid of this strange noises and banging and so David really never had any friends come over to play. When Robbie had his first seizure, David was traumatized. We set up a procedure that every time it happened, David would run next door so he wouldn't have to see the police and ambulance arrive. Robbie started making himself sick every weekend, so it became a regular event every week that our house went on "Red Alert".
    It wasn't until David went into High School that everything changed. Robbie went into a group home David's Freshman year. The following year, David grew to over 6 feet tall and switched from soccer to football. His confidence grew as large as his stature.

   June is the month of Father's Day and Graduation. In the last blog we focused on Father's Day. This time, I'll talk about Graduation. When my girls went to prom, we took photos on our front steps. In their Junior year, Robbie was shorter than them.

A year later we took the same photo, but I could see how much Robbie had grown in a year! David was in Kindergarten in the first photo, and in first grade in the second!

I tried to reenact these photos for prom for David, but it didn't work out this year. I have to call his group home and schedule everything, and things never seem to ever go right. You'll see in the video.
Senior Prom
I can't believe where the time has gone!
When David graduated, I didn't bother having Robbie brought to his graduation ceremony because they would probably show up too late, and he wouldn't want to be there anyway. Seeing David in his cap and gown made me remember my daughter Patti's graduation from college.
We brought Robbie up to Massachusetts and left him at the hotel with David and Denise and it was a total disaster. I talk to David about it in this video. The  hardest part to hear was when he says he was always afraid of Robbie....until he grew bigger than him.
David's Graduation
     After graduation came Father's Day, and you'll have to go back to my last blog to see what happened then. Robbie had a behavior and ended up in the Behavioral wing of the ER of the hospital. I had a really, REALLY stressful two weeks. Then, we had to take David to orientation at his new college, Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. It's such a beautiful place and I enjoyed getting away for two days. Everyone who has ever been to Newport loves it and talks about the Cliff Walk and the Mansion Tour, so I thought I'd take you on a little tour. I tried to fade into the background and just act like a "normal" family for 2 days, but it wasn't that easy.
Salve Regina
It hasn't been easy being part of this family, but I believe it's made us all stronger and taught us many life lessons. Like being more compassionate and understanding, and that material things are not that important. I encouraged my daughters to go into the field of Special Education or Occupational Therapy, and one of them listened to me. LOL. I told David he should become an attorney and work helping to fight for the rights of people with Special Needs. But instead he's going to play football and go into the sports field. Oh well, you can't win them all!

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