04 March 2011

"You have got to keep autistic children engaged with the world.

You cannot let them tune out."
- Temple Grandin

Today was a superficial day. I woke up, showered, did my hair and makeup, thought about how cute I looked in my cowboy boots, then began to take pictures of my apartment for this blog post.
About half way through taking pictures I realized I had to go turn in my time sheets to work. This is where my post begins; where my thought process began and how I decided that today needed to be more than superficial.

When I was 13, my mom gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Colton Xander Lobaugh. I had an instant connection with him, he was the only of my siblings that I had been there at his birth. I can't explain it, but I knew that there was something special about him, and that there was a reason that God had given me so much love toward someone I didn't even know yet.

When Colton was a year old, he got his vaccinations. And when I say he got them, I mean he got all of them. 7 in one day. Can you imagine the shock to his immune system? A day later my baby brother was sick... and that wasn't all. He was different.
At the age of 2 my baby brother was diagnosed with Autism.

{Colton Xander, plugging his ears, a common Autism trait}

When I was looking into majors at ASU, I came across the major "music therapy." In my head I said, "oh that's nice," and thought nothing of it. A week later I was at my grandma's house and she handed me an article because it reminded her of Colton. I wish I had that article today, because it was a major turning point in my life. It was the most beautiful article about an Autistic boy and his music therapist. That's when I knew exactly what I was meant to do.

{cutest picture ever}

So until I'm able to make a difference through music, I decided that I wanted to do as much as I could for the Autism community. I currently have the greatest job in the world -- I'm a habilitator for H.O.P.E. Group, LLC. I basically get to go to a child's house and teach them basic skills that are difficult for them to learn themselves.

So in researching for this blog (by researching I mean, looking for a good quote to be my post title), I came across a quote that I really don't agree with.

This is what we know, when you tell us of your fondest hopes and dreams for us: that your greatest wish is that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.
- Jim Sinclair

This really made me sad. It's as if to say that anyone who is trying to help someone with Autism doesn't want that person to exist.
This simply just isn't true.
I love my baby brother more than anything in this world. He has taught me so much. He has shown me so much. He has given me a world that I would not have seen without him. I wouldn't trade him for anybody else's typical brother in the whole wide world.
I would never sit around watching my brother suffer. I would never sit back and let him not understand. I would never let him not be understood. My dreams are that I can make a better world for those who suffer, not exterminate them. My hopes are that one day my brother will no longer be degraded because of his disability. My greatest wish is that those with Autism live to humble people, and to show them compassion.

I have learned so much from my brother, and he doesn't even know the extent. So I will continue to hope for a cure and dream of a day when my brother no longer has to suffer, and no longer has to be trapped in his mind.

If you don't know anything about Autism, learn about it. Watch movies like Rain Man, AdamTemple Grandin. Read articles. Get involved. It'll give you a view into the lives of these wonderful souls who have captured my heart.

Be brave, baby brother.


  1. I just recently saw Temple Grandin and LOVED IT! It's amazing that she did SO MUCH and was able to function as well as she did in the time that she was doing it. Miracles do happen, and you're awesome for speaking up. Great post, Brittany!

  2. So beautiful, so heartfelt, so true. Love this post, best friend :)

  3. This is a beautiful post. My two nephews both have autism--and have found sanctuary through music therapy. Thanks for spreading the word!