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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Out with Aaron: A Guide to a Successful Day Trip

Posted on by wisibs

This past week, I took Aaron with me to The Building for Kids: Children’s Museum. When taking Aaron to any destination, it tends to be a hit or miss. For example, there are many days Aaron loves to get on the bus to go to school. Other days, it takes two people and a bus aid to get him to leave the house.

Living with as a sib your whole life, it can be hard to stay optimistic about traveling anywhere from vacations to a restaurant or even your next door neighbor’s house. When you do take a trip of any distance, there is always a list of different approaches in your back pocket if anything bothers or upsets your sibling while away from home.

For this blog, I took a step back and paid attention to some common themes that occurred as we explored the museum. Though these ideas are not always foolproof for any sib, maybe you can find a new angle or better understand your role as a companion and a sib.


Sending the boats down the slide

-Assist, Don’t Execute

Don’t take over any activities entirely. We all know what our sibs need assistance with, but they are capable of a lot; sometimes even more than we think. I learned this when we were playing with a slide in the exhibit with different activities involving water. Aaron can walk independently, but it can take a while, especially when the floors are slippery. I’d assist him by passing him the toys for the slide, and he would send them back on their way. This made playing and learning together much easier, but Aaron was still at the core of involvement.

-Pair the Old with the New

New places mean unfamiliar surroundings, which can be frightening or simply uninteresting to our brothers and sisters. Usually Aaron prefers to walk around and look at things, and then move on to a different activity. It is exceptionally tricky taking him to places where he needs to stop and interact with his environment. He’s set on simply doing what he always does at home, and that’s that.

This is where the idea of old paired with new comes in. Aaron has a whole army of Despicable Me Minions at home. Dave, Stuart, Bob, Kevin, and even a stuffed minion infected with the PX41 Serum (from the sequel movie, which turns minions purple!) These guys are a family within our family.IMG_20151216_155928641

By bring Dave with us, I had an additional resource for Aaron to use as
he focuses on one activity. We stopped and made a house for Dave out of wooden blocks. Aaron really enjoyed it, and even decided Dave needed to wear a hat too!


-Tackle New Adventure as a TeamIMG_20151216_155415698

Be fully present with your sib! Watching from the background is no fun for either of you.Spending time together promotes strong relationships between the two of you.  It’s a time when you and your sib can just smile and enjoy each other’s company. Aaron and I had such a great time exploring the museum together. I really enjoyed spending the afternoon with my brother, and I’m sure he liked it too!

Speaking of the Children’s Museum, Wisconsibs’ March 19th, 2016 Sibshop will be hosted there! Stay tuned for more details on that.

On behalf of Wisconsibs, have a great holiday and a wonderful new year!

Our Newest Intern: Meet Anna!

Posted on by wisibs

Hello all!

My name is Anna Benz, and I will be working with Wisconsibs as an intern for the spring and summer. I have been involved with Wisconsibs starting at age six. The first Sibshop I attended was at the former Appleton Children’s Museum, and we decorated Christmas cookies. Since then, I have attended numerous Sibshops and Sib Days of Summer, along with being a counselor at Sib Days for the past four years.

Like many sibs, one of the things I seek to do is to provide advocacy and understanding of what it’s like to live with a disabled sibling, and how to properly treat and respect those with disabilities. Essentially, it boils down to accepting and acknowledging them as if they were anyone else you’d meet in your daily life.

My brother Aaron has always been a big part of my life, just like any other brother or sister. What makes my brother unique from others is his differing abilities. When Aaron was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder- not otherwise specified). This means that Aaron has many anna and aaroncharacteristics of autism, but is not categorized on the autism spectrum. Like autism, Aaron has difficulty with communicating, walking, and when schedules and routines are broken. In addition, Aaron is completely non-verbal, and needs to hold someone’s hand or use a walker to walk.

This has made many differences in my life too. Over time, our family has learned different visual cues and gestures to try and understand what Aaron needs. He also has a communication device to help him express his needs. The device (which we call his “talker”) then reads what he needs aloud. When people ask me if I wished my brother were “normal” I always say that some days are harder than others, but Aaron has always been my brother. His differing abilities bring many ups and downs, but I can’t imagine him any other way. Aaron’s personality, smile, and joy from the simple things in life remind me how much we are alike, and how much I love to proudly call him my brother.

One of the things I will be working on with Wisconsibs is updating the organization’s blog and Facebook page. If you would like to contribute your ideas, or if you have a vision of what this blog could become, feel free to comment below! Thank you for reading and supporting Wisconsibs.