On October 2nd, 17 members of ‘Braeden’s Battalion’ participated in the Flutie 5K in honor of our sweet son Braeden. Our team was made up of friends, family and even Braeden’s therapist. I am still so touched that everyone laced up on this chilly morning in a show of support.
While Braeden lives his life on the spectrum, it does not define him or us. He is a fun, curious, kindergartener who loves anything to do with the solar system. Hearing his diagnosis when he was 21 months was very difficult for my husband Michael-Ryan and I. But once the initial shock wore off, relief set in. We could now take action and put a plan in place to get Braeden the help he needed. We are so fortunate to have a “battalion” in place that never stops working together for Braeden, not only at the 5K, but year round.
Darryl Alexa, my mother, is a superstar. In addition to watching Braeden while Michael-Ryan and I are at work, she also oversees his in-home therapy sessions and attends Braeden’s IEP and progress meetings at school. As a former teacher, she provides us with invaluable support in so many different areas - his education, his development and therapies.
Michael, my brother, is incredible as well. We pay out of pocket for private therapies for which he has generously assisted with many times. He recognizes how important these services are for Braeden's growth and does not want him to ever go without. Michael also takes note of Braeden's interests and often buys things he thinks will help him: toys, therapy supplies, etc.. We never ask, he just does it for Braeden.
Lisa Tenczar is Braeden's ABA therapist. We have been lucky to have her work with Braeden for the past two summers. Lisa is a teacher and is also a dance studio owner. She uses her teaching skills and dance background to engage Braeden in his therapies and to push us out of our comfort zones. She is an incredible support to all of us.
My Aunt, Sharon Davidson, is another very important member of our team. We cannot leave Braeden with any sitter, it has to be someone that knows him. My Aunt will take over on days my mother is unable so I can still go to work or attend meetings for Braeden. She is very crafty and has made him weighted blankets, weighted hats, decorated shirts and compression vests with his favorite symbols. She always goes above and beyond.
Raising Braeden takes a team, and we realize how fortunate we are to have such an incredible one. We run the Flutie 5K every year, because we know that the funds generated from the race directly benefit other families so they can take advantage of invaluable programs and therapies that will help their loved ones. When I think about it this way, I guess you can say our “team” is really a part of the bigger “team”, Team Autism, doing our part to help families live their lives to the fullest
All my best,