The Au-Some A-Squad | ABA, S, OT, PT, and Brotherhood | Written by Megan Elizabeth
This beautiful piece was written by our blogger, Megan Elizabeth. Thank you for her and all our bloggers for sharing their hearts + stories with us. Enjoy.
On a beautiful summer day in 2011, I unbuckled my baby boy, who was just shy of 1, from his car seat and headed into the ultrasound clinic. I was 16 weeks pregnant and couldn’t wait to get inside and find out the gender of baby #2. I laid on the table, anxiously waiting for the ultrasound to start, and all I could think about as I watched AJ playing with his grandparents was how much I hoped it would be another little boy.
I had dreams of what it might be like to watch these two little brothers grow up together. I pictured them chasing each other around the yard with water balloons, spending hours at my kitchen table with their blocks and legos, spending fall evenings playing football outside, and hearing their little giggles as they “camped out” in the basement. The perfect brotherhood.
The moment came for the gender reveal and I held my breath as the ultrasound technician turned to me with a big smile, and said the words that I wanted to hear so much- “It’s another boy!”.
Watching the boys grow up together has been wonderful. Being so close in age has meant that they are interested in many of the same activities, toys, movies, etc. However, the concept of “brotherhood” is a tricky one. Sure, they're brothers- they live together, they shared a room together for quite awhile, they go to school together, etc. But when I think about brotherhood, I think about brothers playing together, interacting together, helping each other, and sharing ideas and feelings. This version of brotherhood is something that never quite came the way I envisioned.
Therefore, brotherhood has turned into another form of therapy for us. In addition to ABA, speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, the boys are also LEARNING how to be brothers. We are teaching them how to interact with each other and how to play together.
While AJ is taking his turn riding on our favorite horse during summer therapy, Asher is learning patience and how to watch AJ and cheer him on. When the boys are done working on their individual goals in summer aquatics, they spend time learning how to play catch with each other, and how to “race” each other to the other side of the pool. When we go to our favorite park, they are learning how to take turns and push each other on their favorite banana swing. When we attempt sensory friendly outings and Asher needs a little extra time to adjust to the new surroundings, AJ is learning to be patient and have empathy for what Asher is experiencing. At home they are learning how to share toys and split mommy’s attention.
Given their unique sensory needs/challenges, they are learning how to coexist in the same area. Things like eating together at the table, working in the same room at therapy/school, and sleeping in the same bedroom were all things that had to be worked on. They had to learn how to regulate their emotions/behaviors while also tolerating things that their brother may be doing.
So yes, for us, brotherhood is another therapy on our list of therapeutic interventions that are helping the boys grow and succeed in life. While there are days where this is challenging, I can still find a million reasons to be grateful for their relationship and that they are on this journey together. Their version of brotherhood may not look the same as others, but it is special in its own way. Throughout all of the tears, laughter, challenges, and strides, they always have each other. And that is really what brotherhood is all about.