When 10-year-old Drew Benedetto was honored at the Colts-Texans game as a Damar MVP, the award easily could have been given to the MVF – Most Valuable Family.
All of the Benedettos play a big part in Drew’s successes … even his 2½-year-old sister, Reagan.
“She’s like his miniature therapist,” Mom Christina said. “When she notices Drew getting upset, she’ll calmly say, ‘You need to calm down.’ And, he listens to her.”
As impressive as this sounds, it’s not all that unusual. When a child has special needs, the entire family is involved. It’s a level of support that has been essential for Drew, who lives at home and receives behavioral therapy at Damar to help him live with his Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as various other illnesses including Chromosomal Abnormality Disorder and Mild Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy. He’s faced a lot of struggles in his short life, trying to fit in at school and making friends. He’s also had to cope with grief, after a friend and classmate died last year from a fatal asthma attack.
But his family is strong, and despite those struggles, he has an infectious smile and is quick to say, “Hi” when he sees an adult, who may also receive a big hug.
Drew has responded well to his therapy and, as a result, he’s made remarkable strides in terms of handling his emotions and interacting with peers. That’s why he was selected to be a Damar MVP.
Well, that and the support of a doting little sister, who seems to make a habit of soothing her big brother. Recently, Drew had surgery to repair a hole in his eardrum, and now Reagan holds his hand when he has to take his medication.
That’s just the kind of thing you do when you’re family.
Drew has more good days than bad days now, but he still has his ups and downs. Even though it would be easier for the Benedettos to give in at times – they still persist. It’s this reliable support system that has helped Drew progress. And what incredible progress he has made!