The winner of Shannon Ethridge’s Veil of Secrets, with the most shares, likes, and tweets is Renee…but I have several Renee’s who read this blog…So, if the woman who commented and tweeted and liked could identify herself to me, I can send you your copy! 🙂  

Thanks to all of you for reading, liking, and sharing. I’m so thankful for each of you! 

I’m excited to share a new blog with you today. Sisters, Stephanie and Alexa Ruffino, are siblings to a brother they adore, Anthony. Anthony was diagnosed with West Syndrome and Autism at a very early age. The sisters, who love their brother deeply, decided it was time to be a voice for the voiceless and offer a sort of online support group for other siblings of Autistic children.  They write about life with Anthony at Life Doesn’t Have to Be Ruff.
The Ruffino Siblings
1.    Tell us a little about Anthony’s Story.
While Anthony was born completely normal, he developed an idiopathic epileptic syndrome (meaning no reason, no cause). It was called The West Syndrome. MANY failed medications later, we were introduced to the Ketogenic Diet in hopes to “cure” his disorder. Ultimately, the diet failed to work and took a great toll on Anthony’s body.  

Our family turned to the one place in America we knew could help out: the Mayo Clinic. Although we had absolutely no money to think about hopping on a plane, we had to do it for Anthony. We are so thankful to the Mayo Clinic for all that they have done for our family. Unfortunately, the West Syndrome set Anthony far behind “normal” standards. 

When you’re focused on curing a seizure disorder, the normal day-to-day progressions, sadly, go unnoticed. With the help of the Mayo Clinic, the seizures lessened from sixty a day, to twenty, ten, and finally to zero. However, Anthony’s gross, fine, and cognitive delayed motor skills became apparent.

At the young age of five years-old, Anthony showed characteristics of being Autistic. This was another obstacle our family had to overcome. Another disorder; another thing we had to educate ourselves on.

If there is one thing we are completely educated about, it’s that without our family’s strong desire to fight and never give up, we would have never made it out of the lowest of lows.
2. What is it like being the sister of someone with Autism?  
Being the sister of an autistic sibling is far from being easy. At ages nine and twelve we felt a strong sense of responsibility to mature and educate ourselves to a new level of understanding. This was not just our parents’ issue. In some way we (our oldest brother included) became for each other what our parents could not be. 

We provided emotional support and well-cooked meals for each other. It (both willingly and unwillingly at times) became our duty to care for our parents the way they had for us, pre-craziness. For those of you who have never experienced a situation like this first-hand, our parents never stopped loving and caring for us. Anthony had just taken over a great deal of their focus and responsibility.

When things get too tough to handle, we remember that someone out in the world has way worse issues going on. We’ve been through a ton, but we’ve made it out more grateful than most. Anthony is our world and giving up on him or our family has never been an option.
3. Why did you decide to start your blog? 
We wanted to share our story and inspire others who are in the same situation. We didn’t have anyone outside of each other to turn to, especially anyone our own age who truly knew what we were going through.

4. If you could offer one piece of advice to other siblings of kids with Autism, what would you say?
Things get tough, without a doubt. However, don’t turn away from your family. Instead, embrace the fact that you are growing stronger every day. You may find your story is different than others, but know you’re not alone. One day your story will change lives for the better.

5. What are your dreams for Anthony? 

We have many dreams for Anthony. The list is infinite. He may be different, but he is not less. We pray for his happiness and to one day find independence.

6. What are your dreams for yourself? 

Stephanie: I currently work as a hair stylist at a wonderful salon and spa, with hopes to one day travel the world while helping others find their own happiness. I aspire to write a book that encourages many others.
Alexa: I am currently living my dream by fulfilling my love fo​r writing at Columbia College in Chicago. By studying Journalism with a specialty in Broadcasting, I hope to one day inspire those around me with my words.

Be sure to encourage the girls with comments below 

Pin It on Pinterest