Where Have We Been

Where Have We Been

WORKING REALLY HARD! I PROMISE…

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Please join us on our NEW and IMPROVED website www.specialneedssiblings.com !! We have transitioned and hope you can come too!! We miss you but we are back!! Thank you for giving me the support and encouragement to continue! We are a strong community and I pray we continue to grow and improve.

LOVE,

SNS

Special Needs Siblings: Julia & Colin

Special Needs Siblings: Julia & Colin

❀️🌟 Thank you so much Lauren for being such an wonderful mother!! We really enjoyed hearing from you and about your daughter Julia. She sounds like such a joy! Thank you for allowing us to share your story with others to start off this New Year with encouragement and love. SNS! 🌟

My name is Lauren and I’m a single mother of two wonderfully amazing children! My oldest daughter Julia is 13 and my non verbal autistic son Colin who is 5. Words don’t describe how blessed I am to have these two kiddos because without them I’d be lost.
The reason for my email is really to tell you about my 13 daughter Julia who is my rock my best friend and the daughter every parent dreams of! Julia has always been a straight A student who is always there to lend a helping hand and the kind of patience and love in her heart that we all strive to have!


This past year my ex husband and their father had to walk away from the children’s lives as he struggled with an addiction he is hopefully trying to overcome to this day but knowing that these two kids dearly miss their father and hurt inside ways I’m not even aware of at times. Christmas is just a few days away and I want nothing more than for these two babies have their father back and healthy but realistically that’s not in the cards for the time being!

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Please don’t feel bad for my children or myself but remember this holiday season that we all should be thankful for everyone and everything we have in our lives and that no matter what show the ones you care about that you love them and are so blessed to have them in your life. Never take anything for granted because it can all disappear in an instant and those memories are all you’ll have left.

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The Sibling Seesaw

The Sibling Seesaw

Long time… No write… Count it to my head not my heart.

Lately, as a mother I have been on this rollercoaster of emotion especially with my boys, Caleb and Christian. I have spoken previously about inclusion and understanding regarding Caleb and his older autistic brother Christian. Now, I have been put in a bit of a pickle and I am praying I make the right decision.

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My sons are pretty close in age, 11 and 9, so their entire circle of close friends is the same. Β I wouldn’t consider myself a helicopter mom, but they have never spent the night at anyone’s house other than family. So that pretty much brings us to date. One of their friends is having a sleepover and invited them to attend. Now, I agreed without hesitation because I know the parents, the children, and am comfortable with the environment. Β This was a few weeks ago. Now I am hesitant. The birthday sleepover is this Saturday and I find myself extremely anxious. I do not want to separate my boys because they were both invited.

Firstly, I do not want Christian to attend and something negative happens while in someone else’s care. Sounding very β€˜helicopter’ like, but I really do not feel at ease entrusting someone with him that isn’t trained or equipped to deal with his differences. Then I go back on my seesaw and think of Christian. I remember walking in to pick him up a couple weeks ago at daycare and he was balled up in a corner while younger kids were throwing blocks at him. He is 11 years old, but he was curled up crying. He was saying repeatedly, β€˜Stop it. Stop it. No one likes me. No friend.” I had to remove him immediately. He has finally begun to associate himself with feelings of acceptance and friendship. He will ask for some of the boys attending the sleepover by name. This has been a transitional year for him going to middle school. Β Christian has been making such great progress towards his communication. He is trying to hold conversations with kids his age rather than just standing parallel with them. If I do not allow him to attend am I also holding him back or simply protecting him.

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Secondly, there is his wonderful brother Caleb. Caleb is super excited about attending his first sleepover! No girls allowed, unlimited video games, pizza galore he is pumped up! I am thrilled he can spend time with his friends. He has spent the first half of the school year successfully bringing up his grades and receiving positive conduct reports. He has stood up for his brother numerous times… even though they still treat my house like a WWE match. I am so proud of his progress! He deserves some unfiltered fun.

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I’m torn because I would like Caleb to enjoy a sleepover without the undue pressure of watching Christian; on the other hand, I don’t want to deprive Christian of social development. Is it insensitive putting Christian’s special restrictions and concerns on another family during a time of fun?

I know this is just the beginning.Β  As they get older Caleb will want to do things on his own. Christian will need friends with more similarities. Is that even the right way to say it? I have never been good at being politically correct. I am blunt and bubbly. Yet, I really do not know in the moment. I do not know what choice I will make, but I pray for the peace to make it. I pray they both know how much I love them. How I would do anything to protect and nurture them, physically and emotionally.

All this just to say it is another day in the life of Special Needs Siblings. Do you have a similar experience? How did you cope? I would to hear about it!

Special Needs Siblings: Shalyn & Quentin Reynolds

Special Needs Siblings: Shalyn & Quentin Reynolds

❀️🌟 Thank you so much Shalyn for being such an awesome sister!! We really enjoyed hearing from you and wish you the best in every future endeavor! We love you, SNS 🌟
I am Shalyn Reynolds. I’m 19, from Michigan and my brother isΒ Quentin Reynolds.
SNS:Β  What does ‘Special Needs Siblings’ mean to you?
Shalyn: The phrase special needs siblings mean to me that you’re a brother/sister to somebody who’s not quite like you, but they deserve the same love and attention a normal child gets. You just have to understand their different likes and dislikes.
SNS: What are some ups and downs to being a SNS?
Shalyn:Β Some ups of being a Special Needs Sibling you get to have a challenge with dealing with them, learning different things about their disability, being a role model to them. Some downs of being a Special Needs Sibling having to worry about them not fitting it with other kids, them not getting the same attention as the normal kids.

SNS:Β Β Do you have a favorite memory with you and your brother?

Shalyn:Β My favorite memory with my brother was going to Chicago for a skateboard championship and he got to meet all of his favorite skateboarders, he’s really into skateboarding. Just seeing how happy he was made me happy and excited he got to be there.

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SNS: What’s your dream?Β 
Shalyn:I’m majoring in special education, my dream is to open up a facility for kids with special needs so they can interact with other kids with special needs, they’ll be able to feel comfortable, do different activities just something fun for them.
SNS: Is there anything you enjoy because of your brother?
Shalyn:Β My brother is big on skateboarding I never once liked skateboarding until he started to like it he’s always outside riding his skateboard I get on it sometimes just to make him happy. If he’s not outside skateboarding he’s in the house watching it.
Special Needs Siblings: Ciara & Steele Hibdon

Special Needs Siblings: Ciara & Steele Hibdon

❀️🌟 A deep thank you to Miss Southeast International, Ciara Hibdon, of Fayetteville Arkansas. She is the older sister of Steele and we honor her for being such an amazing big sister!! We love you, SNS 🌟

Steele and I have had quite the extraordinary life. Being exactly two years and two days apart we share a close bond and have shared countless birthday parties.

At the age of three, Steele was diagnosed with autism. I was five at the time. I remember hearing the word autism for the first time and thinking, “but there’s nothing wrong with him”. Since that day it has been my mission to be his advocate and a Hero for Autism. Through our brother sister bond I have learned compassion, patience and most importantly hard work.

We were told Steele would never graduate high school, this fall he will be attending the University of Arkansas studying journalism in the honors program. None of this would have been possible without his Heroes for Autism.

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As Miss Southeast International I am spreading the message of autism acceptance through my platform Heroes for Autism, we often hear of autism awareness but not acceptance. My job, to educate and encourage others to reach out and befriend those who minds work a little differently and help create a world that is more sensory friendly for these people.

I am working with Walmart Corporate on enhancing the shopping experience for those who have autism and other special needs by offering quiet hours and assistance shopping and checking out. It’s the simple things that make the biggest difference.

Steele has gone to infinity and beyond to be where he is today and I am so proud of the young man he has become. He inspires me each and every day and makes me strive to be a better person. He truly is a Hero for Autism.

Special Needs Siblings: Alex & Jackson

Special Needs Siblings: Alex & Jackson

❀️🌟 A heartwarming thank you to Rebecca, a  34 year old mother of four: Alex (8), Jackson (7), Ava (6), and Isabel (4), from Tennessee. She allowed her son Alex to take part in our SNS interview and share parts of his heart with us! We honor you, Alex! SNS 🌟❀️

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SNS: What is your favorite memory?

Alex: β€œWhen Jack and I rode roller coaster together at Dollywood and we screamed and laughed and had a great time!”

SNS: Are there any activities you like because of your sibling(s)?

Alex: β€œI love making Jack laugh! He thinks it’s funny when I act out different movies and we play together. He makes me want to be a better actor, so I’m always trying to find new costumes and things to make him laugh and happy.”

SNS: Has your sibling ever influenced the type of friends you associate with?Β 

Alex: β€œSome of my friends I don’t talk to anymore, because they made fun of Jack when he left school. It wasn’t Jack’s fault but they won’t listen and they wouldn’t leave him alone, so I don’t hang out with them now.”

SNS: Does your relationship with your sibling(s) make you strive to better yourself in any aspect of your life?

Alex: β€œJack makes me want to be kind. He makes me want to help other people and he shows me how to be strong. I like that Jack thinks I’m funny and that I can help cheer him up whenever he’s upset or angry.”

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SNS: Do you think your positive relationship with your sibling(s) has helped you gain important characteristics such as confidence and compassion?

Alex: β€œJack showed me that I have to stand up for people. If I see someone getting picked on or made fun of, I have to step in and tell the other guy β€˜hey, knock it off!’ And if they don’t, I have to find a teacher and get them to stop. It’s not funny to pick on people and I don’t like it when kids pick on people who can’t talk.”

SNS: What are two things you wish everyone could know about people with a disability?

Alex: β€œI wish people knew that Jack can’t help it sometimes. When he gets upset, he’s trying not to be, but he doesn’t know how to say what he wants to, and that makes him mad. I wish people wouldn’t make fun of Jack. It hurts my feelings, because Jack just wants to be friends with people. He’s my best brother and my best friend. And I have to help him because I’m his big brother and I love him.”

SNS:Β What in your view should people not say to siblings of people with a disability?

Alex: β€œDon’t make fun of people with autism. It isn’t funny. They aren’t making fun of you!”

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Special Needs Siblings: We Need You

Special Needs Siblings: We Need You

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