WASHINGTON - Sybil Burroughs is the very strong mother to twin daughters - both who have autism. She spoke with FOX 5’s Shawn Yancy about raising two girls with autism – two girls who are growing into young adults.
Sybil said her daughters, Sidney and Sibrinia, were diagnosed when they were 6 years old after they started attending school. She suspected something prior to that, but wasn't sure until the school’s tests confirmed they had autism.
She, like many other parents, were taken by surprise by the diagnosis. She had no idea what that really meant and feared her daughters would be institutionalized. "I had no blueprint," she said. "I had nothing to go on."
MOVING TOWARD ADULTHOOD
"Keep going and keep researching, then develop their skills based on what their child can do," she says when asked about advice for other parents. She said not to force your child into main stream society – but rather create an autism society for them through services, support and education.
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"It changed my life," she said about her introduction to Autism Speaks.
"All these times that I was living with the girls and autism, I was trying to fit them into my world. The year I went to Autism Speaks, I fit into their world and then that's when the light bulb came on. I need to be a part of this because it is a different world that we live in but we can live altogether."
After Sybil, director of human resources for Shoe City, found out what Autism Speaks was all about, she approached her employer for support.
Not only did Shoe City become active in the blue Puzzle Piece Campaign, they made them available in all of their stores in the DMV. Our customers responded - and they responded with overwhelming results. Last year alone we raised $410,000.
HOPES & FEARS
"My hope is that they can live on their own - and my fear is that they don't," Sybil said. "Her girls hold jobs in the community, and while they don’t succeed everywhere they work, they continue to try."
"Those are my fears - that they don't succeed and that they'll need somebody to take care of them for the rest of their lives."
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Your donation to Autism Speaks can help make a difference – you can donate $10 to Autism Speaks by texting AUTISM to 25383