Happy New Year, iQ Journals readers! As it is that reflective time of year, I was considering writing about the many accomplishments Quentin has had in 2012: How he can now talk in short sentences, is potty-trained, and even tolerated a haircut on his own (well, for the most part) this past weekend. (I attribute much of his haircut tolerance to the Toca Salon app – which I reviewed here – as well as the Model Me Going Places video about going to a hairdresser. This is exactly the kind of learning from tech exposure which led me to create this blog in the first place; to examine how media and tech can improve Quentin’s life. In the case of getting a haircut, continual virtual “play” and video exposure seemed to really help.) All parents of special needs children learn to savor milestones of any kind because we know how much effort went into each of them. Truly, our boy has made some major progress this year and I’m so very proud of him.
But then my mind got to wandering, as it often does, to Fiona, his twin sister. Fiona has also made some major leaps in development this year. Hers are more typical for a five-year-old: She learned how to read a whole book to herself, snap her fingers, and made a best friend in Kindergarten. I am proud of her for all of this, but I am most proud of one thing in particular: This year, she learned what autism is and learned how to be the best sister she can be for Quentin.
It began when I brought Fiona along for the Autism Speaks Walk in NYC this Spring. Naturally, Fiona wanted to know what autism was and why we were doing this walk. As she had more questions, I tried to answer them as best as I could. I bought a picture book about autism, to help her understand it better. But it was her own experience of sticking up for her brother when someone teased him on the playground that really solidified her love for him.
In 2013, we will be going to Disney World. This is a trip we’ve been discussing for a few months now, with careful planning to accommodate Quentin’s needs while still making it enjoyable for the whole family. Words cannot describe how excited Fiona is to see her favorite characters and go on all the rides. She talks about the upcoming trip incessantly. However, she recently started to describe a new kind of theme park, called “Logo Land.” Instantly, I new who this theme park would be for (if you’ve been reading along here than you would know too), so I decided to ask her more about it. The interview, below, gets at exactly how in-tune she is with her brother:
The video gets cut off because, quite frankly, Fiona can go on forever on a tangent. I think this snippet does get to the heart-and-soul of her deep dedication to her brother, in combination with her awesome creative ideas. She understands both Quentin’s incessant need for a verbal repetition of logos as well as his love of thrill-seeking experiences (such as a bouncy house or a roller coaster) which are all due to autism. In short, she is his best advocate.
So here’s to a great new year ahead of us, including sibling love. I’ll be writing more about our trip to Disney World in a few months. Maybe one day I can even write about a trip to Logo Land, if Fiona has anything to do with it.