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He aint heavy, he's my brother: having a brother with autism

I told you all this post would come over spring break. The reason it's just getting posted now is because Jude was busy playing with Alden! I am so happy to report that these two, who already have an amazing bond and such a sweet special love are growing even closer as Alden is welcoming Jude more and more into his world. With that being said, I have also put off posting because although Jude wrote this post I am typing it up for him, and it's been even more emotional than I was prepared for. Jude is the BEST big brother and is continually amazes me with his strength and grace. However there are struggles with being the sibling of a child with autism and this has been the first time he has really expressed them.  So please enjoy the beautiful, sad and raw honestly of this sweet boy and his experience being the sibling of an autistic child.

                                       pictured above: guest blogger Jude VanEtten getting a smooch from Rapunzel

    Hi! My name is Jude…
Recent posts

You cant pour from an empty pitcher: Taking care of yourself so you can take care of everyone else

I've said it before and I will say it again WE ARE SO BLESSED. We have the best support system and if we hit a snag we quickly have people offering to help. The thing we aren't so good at, accepting that help. With that being said I'm am obviously no expert in taking care of myself. Whether it is an ice breaker when meeting new people or asked during an interview, I hate the question "what are your hobbies" hobby? Do people still have time for those?  I guess as I sit here typing I could now answer blogging is my hobby. It is something I enjoy and not something I HAVE to do. Well would you look at that I have a hobby!
    Aside from blogging my favorite go to "me time" is a long hot uninterrupted shower, a dinner date with a girlfriend, or snuggling up with several blankets and some junk food watching movies. I envy people who say running or the gym is their de-stressing 'me time'. I can't help but think they are lying, if we are being hones…

You're Talking my Love Language

WHEW, it has been a crazy week in the VanEtten home and in the calm after the storm I have been doing some reflection. I quickly decided I couldn't get through this crazy life with out my best friend by my side, every step of the way. It doesn't hurt he's not bad on the eyes either if you know what I mean ;-) Brandon knows by now how I respond to the chaos and when to encourage me to keep trucking and when to just hold me; not saying a word. Not trying to help for fix anything for me, just let me be still and sad or grumpy or whatever I'm feeling at that moment.
    When we were first married a friend gave us a book called the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It is really interesting insight and I encourage you to check it out. You can even take the
free love languages quiz online by clicking HERE.  Your love language could be words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, receiving gifts or quality time. Now sure, I enjoy all of these things but my highest…

Jude the Dude

For those of you who dont know us personally, Jude is Alden's (slightly) older brother. They are 15 months apart. Jude doesn't remember life before Alden and as scary as having two little ones so close together was just after Alden's birth, it has worked out so nicely for our family. I remember shortly after Alden's diagnosis being just as devastated for Jude as I was for Alden. Honestly maybe even more so for him. I never wanted Jude to feel left out or second fiddle because things would be so different for each of them. We worked our way through the muddy waters of parenting which is hard enough on its own but really difficult when you are parenting one nuerotypical and one nuerodiverse. We tackled our fair share of questions but Jude has ALWAYS been SO loving, kind and understanding with Alden and with us as we explain how despite their close age there are different expectations for each. Jude has always been an old soul and we have always told him what a beau…

The BEST Part of Autism

We have talked a lot about the not so fun, draining, sit down and cry, nitty gritty parts of autism. There are a lot of things that many don't give a second thought to but I have to give myself a pep talk for. I have adjusted to that for the most part and it's just part of the daily routine. I can usually have that conversation with myself and go about my day with no tears involved. I can even occasionally laugh my way through the public escapade we occasionally put on.
    But there is another part of autism too. The part that almost made me mad when suggested just after diagnosis. The amazing, awesome, exciting and incredible parts of autism. It might be cliche, but Alden has taught me so much. Fun fact for those of you who don't know, Brandon and I both went to college in the education field. Fairly early on in both of our separate programs we were advised it may be smart to go into special education as there was a growing need and it would make it much easier to ge…

Regression, oh how I despise thee

One of the big red flags of autism is regression.  Developmental regression is when a child loses an acquired skill. For example some children with autism will be developing on schedule and suddenly loose verbal skills. In a way I think this would be harder than the child that either never or very slowly develops these skills. Watching your child make gains and suddenly loose them has to be devastating. 
    We caught on to Alden's autism very early as he was missing milestones all along rather than meeting them and then regressing. That is not to say we haven't experienced regression of skills with him. We started resources for Alden before his first birthday. He was working with different teachers and therapists through the LISD. We pretty quickly noticed a pattern in his newly acquired skills. He would be starting to catch on to something and we would then miss sessions due to him being sick of scheduled days off and he would quickly loose what we had gained. It definite…

Dont we ALL Hate the Dentist?

I didn't grow up being the child that hated the dentist. I was happy to go get my teeth cleaned and pick a prize from the prize box. I dreaded gagging on the horrible fluoride treatments but it wasn't anything I was kicking and screaming about. Fast forward to my teenage years and I had a HORRIBLE experience that left me scarred for life!
    I'm now the adult that will avoid the dentist at all cost. If I have to go it takes a lot of medication and then I will still be shaking and crying like a baby. Thankfully I don't see any signs of passing on my phobia to my oldest child. Jude loves going to the dentist. Alden however has anxiety in all 'clinical' settings. The doctors office, dentist, hospital....he gets upset just walking into the building. His regular dentist is incredibly patient with him but at his last visit it was decided, in order to do a more thorough examine, it was probably time to have him put under to get his first set of x-rays.  We would also…