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Our Newest Intern: Meet Anna!

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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.

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