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The Change Maker.

In all that fills our family life with Jax’s disability, there is someone of utmost importance that always stays in my vision.

The Change Maker: Baxter.

Baxter is Jax’s younger bro, they are a year and half apart. Baxter is Neurotypical. There is so much to know about Baxter. He is an exceptional kid who is compassionate, emotionally mature, insightful and beyond his young years in so many ways. I mostly credit that to him, but also to the family dynamic of having an Autistic Brother. I have always presented his brothers differences honestly and age appropriately to him and I think this has supported him and Jax in having understanding early on. I see many families trying to hide or change their disabled child which limits not only the child to feel accepted and seen, but also his siblings and the entire family. Visibility and vulnerability with honesty about what is hard is imperative to thriving as a family and individually. As is celebrating together all that is amazing and truly cherished gifts of being a family with a disability.

Another important key is that Baxter feels seen. Fully. He is celebrated, his needs are met, he is not cast aside because his brothers needs are at times greater. I work very hard to find balance for both my kiddos needs so they equally have security. I think this goes a long way to ensure Baxter is not resentful, but rather understanding and compassionate. He shines in how he cares for others. He gives me abundant love and appreciation that I am so deeply grateful for. He also has become a young soul standing alongside justice.

And more about that in Baxter. He is the kid in the playground that is telling his friends, at the risk of losing cool status, not to pick on another kid. He is the one to speak out to his school about why, when they have a motto of inclusion, do they not have any disabled kids. That spirit in him is to be celebrated. We need people in the world like him who are accepting of others and will speak out against injustice. Granted, sometimes he’s speaking out about the injustice that they can’t do zombie tag in recess, but it’s what he’s passionate about so I’m rolling with it. So much so I supported him when he made a petition (with ideas how to make the game safe) to get it allowed at school, had his entire grade sign it (and a few teachers!) and asked his teachers to give it to the Director of the school. This didn’t turn out how he hoped, and in fact his teachers didn’t even follow up with him.

Was this Mama infuriated? YES! Watching my kiddo wait patiently for his efforts to be even acknowledged. They were doing a unit at school at the time called Change Makers. All about people in history who had changed things and made a difference. Each student chose their person. Baxter chose, because she was disabled. So here they are in a unit about Changing the World one person at a time, ignoring my son’s petition trying to change what was important to him in his 2nd grade world. With a little nudge they realized their snafu and turned the petition into a class project. He was, finally, acknowledged.

Baxter wisely said, “Mama, sometimes things don’t turn out how you want right away. But if they think I’m stopping here they are wrong. I’m going to keep going and working at this. And one day, I’m going to change it so they accept disabled kids at my school too.”

See this young soul. The Change Maker. In all his courageous, compassionate, wise, innocent full self. Can we all get back to that brave truth in us? To stay with what really matters? I think we can if we peel back our calcified layers one bit at a time.

How lucky am I that he is my son. I learn from him every day.




I am a single Mom to two amazing boys. One neurotypical, one Autistic. As I write that I wonder what that means to you and how that shapes how you perceive us, even more interestingly yourself.

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