Blogging in the world of social media has connected me to many amazing people dedicated to raising and supporting children and adults on the spectrum. Dana, is no exception. To say I am inspired is an understatement.
I started following an Instagram account, Autism In Real Life , a few months ago and quickly realized I was witnessing the life of an angel in a human’s body and her name is Dana. She is not a parent; she is a sister, who has dedicated her entire life to her older, autistic brother, Robert. The love, dedication and humor in their relationship shines through each post.
Over facetime, I had the pleasure to talk with Dana about her life.
Dana shares how growing up with a sibling who needed a lot of extra attention and support by her parents never made her feel less important or less loved.
When it was time to decide what to do for a living, Dana chose what she knew well- helping those on the spectrum. She earned her degree from The New England Center for Children.
Today, Dana lives on her own, but in close proximity to her brother, who resides with their parents. She sees them daily and will eventually have full guardianship of her brother.
Here she shares:
Growing up with a brother on the spectrum hasn’t been easy. There are unique challenges autism siblings face that very few people are capable of understanding. My brother Robert, who is two years older than I am, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Autism has always been, and will continue to be, a part of my daily life. I started my Instagram page to contribute to the awareness and acceptance movements in the autism community. I wanted to provide a look into the life of an adult on the spectrum, a portion of the population that is often overlooked, from a sibling’s perspective. My brother has been the driving force behind many of my life decisions, one of those being the pursuit of a career in the autism field. Over the years our relationship has had its ups and downs, like any sibling relationship, but our bond is stronger than ever. I am so grateful that so many people on Instagram want to follow along as I share a sneak peek into our daily lives.
Robert, a happy young man, is very good at spelling, and has always loved the alphabet. He loves plastic bowling pins- especially red ones, although he recently became very interested in the green ones! He likes to hang jewelry from the plastic bowling pins and watch how they reflect light and shine while watching video clips of movies and shows like Sesame Street. He can communicate 1 to 2 word utterances and uses touch chat on the iPad to communicate as well.
I highly recommend visiting it to learn more about her and Robert. I am confident you will be inspired and fall in love with these two!
You can hear more about Dana and her brother in an upcoming podcast Adventures In Autism hosted by Meghan Carranza, a mother of 3 young children, 1 having autism. Her Instagram account