Grace came up with the idea of featuring a special sibling each month. A brother or sister who knows how hard it is to have a sibling on the spectrum and is using their voice to Shout Out Awareness in an effort to make things better! We are so excited to have Ms. Natalie Davis, Former Miss Minnesota 2011 as our very first SIBLING OF THE MONTH! Not only is Natalie beautiful on the outside, she is pretty spectacular on the inside too. When we told her about this magazine and that we wanted to feature her she said, “What a wonderful thing you are doing! I didn’t have anyone to talk to about this growing up. For me, being Miss Minnesota was like going through therapy because I was able to interact with hundreds, even thousands of people who were just like me. Thank you for giving me the honor of being your very first entry!” NO THANK YOU NATALIE!
Natalie also took the time to answer several questions that Grace wrote for her. She also called her on her birthday to wish her a special day. (I told you she is pretty incredible!) So sit back and relax and read why we chose Natalie as our very first Shout Out Online Magazine Sibling of the month! Then afterwards go check out Natalie’s website and see what other cool things she is up to.
GRACE: What is your favorite color?
GRACE: What is your favorite activity?
NATALIE:Count your blessings. When I was a child, I knew my brother was different. Trevor spent hours lining up toy cars into perfect rows instead of playing with other kids. He did not speak until he was three, and he could not produce a full sentence until he was seven. Trevor seemed to be in his own little world, but he and I were connected. Even though Trevor could not speak fluently, I always knew instinctively what he needed. Tuned to his emotional state, I was constantly on high alert regarding any environmental factors that might upset him. For as long as I can remember, I have been his helper and protector. When kids bullied him, I tried to explain, “He’s special ed!,” hoping they would have mercy. When he threw tantrums because he did not want to do his schoolwork, I duped him into a game of “tutor” instead. I helped him cover his ears when the sound of a fire truck was too loud for his sensitive ears. Life has always been challenging for Trevor. I seemed to have it all, but I had a brother who struggled.
Growing up with a brother who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder has not been easy; however, when life gets tough, my parents remind me to count my blessings. Despite his challenges, Trevor graduated from high school in the top 50% of his class and now attends St. Cloud State University. Trevor is a pianist, an excellent public speaker, and an Eagle Scout. Over time I have learned that Trevor’s differences are not all negative. The fact that he continually overcomes obstacles that most individuals never have to face makes him not just different, but extraordinary. He has beaten the odds because of his exceptional work ethic and perseverance. By sharing Trevor’s story and volunteering in my community, I aim to instill hope in those who are touched by autism every day. Don’t become a victim to your circumstances. Count your blessings, embrace the challenges, and use your experiences to make positive change in the world.