My youngest son, Joshua, has never lived in a home without autism. I thought it would be fun and interesting to interview Josh about growing up with Brandon.
Below are the questions I asked and Josh’s answers. I have paraphrased some of his responses, but ensured he was okay with everything written. Josh has assured me the answers are his and how he feels.
1. What is your first memory of Brandon.
My first memory is Brandon carrying a chair around the house while dad and Grandpa E. Were working on some stuff. I don’t know why he was carrying the chair. It was a small chair, not a big one, and he wouldn’t put it down. Dad and Grandpa let him do it.
2. What is your favorite memory of Brandon?
Without a doubt, when he started playing Mario Kart. He was having fun with a video game and that is my favorite thing, too.
3. What is something about Brandon you are proud of?
It actually amazes me what he can do on the internet. Brandon can find what he is looking for pretty easily. And he asks for help with spelling if he can’t.
4. What about Brandon annoys you?
The absurd loudness when he it trying to get everyone’s attention. The angry voice and the angry jumping.
5. What is something you have learned from Brandon?
I have learned to appreciate and be thankful for people who work with people with special needs. You know, like Allison, Kelly, Lorie, and you (pointed to me when he said this).
6. What does Brandon do that makes you smile?
When he pets the dogs but doesn’t let them lick the inside of his mouth (yes, Brandon does this and we do our best to redirect him and the dogs). It’s fun to see Brandon play with Gucci (one of our sweet puppies).
7. What is something you wish Brandon could explain to you?
I wish he could tell us why he is angry and upset. It sometimes takes awhile to figure it out and I wish he could just tell us. Especially with the medical stuff and when he doesn’t feel good. We can’t just guess but it feels like that’s what we have to do.
8. What is something fun about Brandon?
Honestly, when he is fully happy. It shows all over him.
9. What are Brandon’s favorite foods?
Ha! This is an easy one. Hot dogs with cheese, ramen noodles, cheese, butter, and Skittles.
10. What have you learned growing up with a brother with severe autism?
It helped me be more open minded. And it definitely helped me be more tolerant of loud noises. I do wish people were more understanding. I don’t like when people stare at him and don’t bother to learn about autism.
11. What are Brandon’s favorite things to do?
Another easy one. Mario Kart, going to Cabelas, jumping, eating, swinging, watching old videos of Disney movies, and giving the dogs treats.
12. If you could teach Brandon one thing, what would it be?
How to interact better with our pets and other animals. He loves animals and I wish he knew how to play with them a bit better.
This was a fun thing to do with Josh and I am so glad he was willing to sit with me for a bit and talk about his brother. I know one of Brandon’s favorite things to do with Josh is to give fist bumps.
They may get on each other’s nerves, but the love is there and it is real.
Stay well everyone!