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My Brother Patrick – Autism Awareness Month


Pat & Nat

Pat & Nat

What is Autism? 

Autism is an everyday part of my life. Autism is a neurological disorder that disrupts the development of communicative, social, and cognitive skills. Neurological disorders affect someone’s brain, they are invisible. You cannot look at someone and tell they are an individual with Autism, which is both a good and bad thing. People with Autism find it difficult to form relationships such as making friends because they have a tough time interacting reciprocally with others. Communicative delays are exemplified by a delay or even a complete lack of language. In the case of people with verbal ability, they are often unable to start or maintain a conversation with someone; their speech is characterized by something called echolalia when they will repeat a phrase over… and over…and over. Individuals with Autism usually are extremely talented in activities such as music or memorization. Kids with Autism sometimes flap their hands or rock their bodies making potential friends uncomfortable. Read More…

My Brother Rad: Redefining the R-word


Were you the group of teenage boys in the store mocking “that kid”, or the girls whispering and laughing at him? Well if you were, I’d like to introduce myself.

My name is Amanda, and I heard what you were saying. I didn’t think you were funny, or cool. You were hurtful.

Now let me introduce you to my older brother, Rad. He’s the person you were laughing at and making fun of.

Amanda & Rad

Amanda & Rad

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Your Words Can Help Stop the R-Word


I was on Facebook one day and saw a post in which someone used the R-word, which greatly offended me. The context it was used in was like an everyday chat, with the person referring to something as “so retarded.” I decided to message this person and tell them my feelings on the R-word — how it doesn’t just offend me, but also many others, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. Read More…

Why I’m Involved With Best Buddies


Hola! My name is Nick Balkevicius, and I have been involved with Best Buddies for 5 years. Being a part of Best Buddies has been one of the best things I have ever done. It has taught me to treat all human beings with the respect that they deserve, and that nobody deserves to be picked on because of what they look like or who they are. Here is the story of how Best Buddies entered my life. Read More…

Meet the Best Buddies Young Leaders Council!


My ‘Best Buddies story’ starts in 2009, when I was a freshman at New York University (NYU). I was so happy to be in a big and exciting city, but also desperate for a sense of community. I attended the club fair during the first week of school to learn about opportunities to get involved at NYU, and met with the Best Buddies College Buddy Director (CBD).

I had heard about Best Buddies before because my older brother, who has an intellectual disability (IDD), was a part of the Best Buddies chapter at his high school. He benefitted so much from having a buddy to spend time with, and I knew that I wanted to give back to the organization.

I joined right away and became involved with the Best Buddies New York office, helping to plan the very first Best Buddies Friendship Walk in New York City. In all honesty, I was totally shocked that the committee members and Best Buddies staff were so open to hearing my ideas! This experience prepared me for the work I’m doing now as a Founding Member of the Best Buddies Young Leaders Council, which will be attending this year’s Best Buddies Leadership Conference (BBLC).

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Best Buddies – Truly Rewarding on so Many Levels


Sometimes you participate in a group or an event because you “have to,” but then there are those rare times that you participate in something because you really want to – for me this can easily be said about my experience with Best Buddies. This sentiment is equally shared by my wife Julia and my boys, Nick and Anthony. Read More…

a typical son

two of us are tall and the other one of us is short and has Down syndrome

Chicken Corn Chowder for the Blogger's Soul

Thought bubbles of inspiration, attempted humor, and most likely a lot of pictures and music. (WARNING: You are the only one reading this.)

Best Buddies Young Leaders Council

Educate, Engage, Empower.

michael crawley

Every person is an equal member of the human family.

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