Our little mini ABA therapist

Having a brother with autism is definitely not easy. But my daughter doesn’t remember life when she didn’t have a special brother. She was 2 when he was born. Oh, how simple life was then… I didn’t know how easy I had it!

I should probably come up with a cute little nickname for my daughter since I don’t really want to use her name… though of course it’s public knowledge so it’s not that secret… but I would prefer to not use it. So hmmm…. what should I call her? Chatty Cathy? Fire Head Red? Super Sis? Freckles McGee?  The Female Child? She-Who-Talks-A-Lot? Little Tweeny? That Kid Over There? Decisions, decisions.

Having a brother with autism is tough and can be quite a challenge, but she does so well. She loves him so much. Just LOVES him! And she always has. She is a very loving and protective big sister and Sammy has looked up to her since he was born.

Of course I hear like 20 times a day how unfair I am. They fight over toys and she tells me at least once a day that I love him more than her. I look like I am always watching a tennis match, my head tuning back and forth to keep an eye on the action, since I need to pay them both attention but they are usually going in two different directions.  And no matter how hard I try, in her eyes I still tend to favor him more. Which of course I don’t.

But in between all of those moments – are moments of amazement. She is so calm and patient with him. And she is naturally such a great teacher. She is also really good at knowing what he is trying to tell us. The other day she was playing with this rocket splash toy (it’s from Discovery Toys and we love it) Here’s a video from youtube showing the toy in action:

Sammy loves watching the rocket shoot up  into the sky and then crash on the ground. And Big Sis Fire Head Red was the rocket controller. She grew tired of playing with it and walked away from it. But Sammy still wanted to watch the rocket and didn’t know how to work it himself.

There are a few steps involved:

First flip the switch to off so the rocket can charge, then place the rocket on the launch pad thingy, then stand back and flip the switch and watch it take off. Sam had trouble with the charging part. He didn’t wait long enough before flipping the switch back so it didn’t have time to build pressure and it didn’t work.

I was watching them through the window as I cooked and tried to get dishes done, etc. You know, the usual. I yelled out to Red Head Freckle Face: “Please just help him do it so I can finish dinner.”

But she didn’t want to. I even tried to bribe her with money but she wanted to swim instead. But then I looked out the window and what did I see? She was teaching him how to work it. And she did it better than I would have. She is patient and on his level. Our little mini ABA therapist.

First she took him, hand-over-hand, and flipped the switch off so the rocket could charge. Then she said “Wait.” The she took him, hand-over-hand, and picked up the rocket and placed it on the launching pad. Then, hand-over-hand, back to the switch to flip it on – and blast off!

He didn’t get it the first few times, and she just kept calmly walking him through each step. After about 10 – 15 tries he had mastered it and can now do it all by himself with no help.

Words can’t even describe how she makes me feel, but I tried. I opened the door and said “You have no idea how proud I am of you. You are absolutely amazing!!”

She will change this world big time – I can just feel it. She has  compassion, patience, and understanding that cannot be taught. She is amazing. And she’s my daughter! Wow!! 🙂

August 2020