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How Stay-at-Home Mom and Autism Advocate Christy DeBruin Spends Her Tuesday

Christy DeBruin and her husband, Barry, an IT consultant, have been married for six years. Together, they live in Prosper with their 5-year-old son Cooper, who is on the spectrum. When not taking care of her family, the former ICU nurse-turned-stay-at-home mom serves as a board member for Heart of Autism.

6:30AM Cooper comes bounding in our room for morning snuggles, spelling M-O-M as he enters our room. After some snuggle time I hop up, quickly put in my contacts, wash my face, brush my teeth and get dressed. We work as a team in the morning to get Cooper out the door. I make breakfast for Cooper: bacon, waffles and strawberries. Barry sits next to Cooper breaking his bacon into little pieces and spelling his name with the bacon to help coax our boy to eat.  

7:35AM I quickly pack Cooper’s lunch—today, it’s a hot dog, some avocado and raspberries—and grab his backpack and my swim bag. Barry walks us out to the car and I run in the house three more times to grab things I forgot. Total mom brain. Finally, we head off to Cooper’s school. Coop plays Endless Words on his iPad on the way in.

8:15AM We arrive at St. Philip’s Preschool in Frisco. I park the car and bring Cooper to his classroom and wait for Children’s Chapel, which I attend with him. He loves chapel and his teacher is so supportive of him. She dances with him in the aisles and his face is pure happiness. I love seeing him thrive in this environment. He has only been verbal for about a year so we were not sure this would be possible a year ago.

9AM Chapel ends. I get into my car, turn on my favorite podcast of the moment, Serial, and head to a Heart of Autism committee meeting in Frisco. I have been on the board of the nonprofit, Heart of Autism, for two years and I feel so lucky to be part of this organization that really gives back to the autism community. We just had our annual gala and today we are meeting to discuss how the evening went, potential new sponsorships and what we can do to improve the gala next year.

11:15AM Back in the car. I drive to the Ford Center for my weekly swim practice. I am part of the masters swim team and I try to swim about three days a week—Monday, Wednesday, Friday, but it depends on how busy life gets. Swimming is a great way to help relieve stress and keep me active.

1PM I leave the pool and drive to a nearby Central Market to grab groceries for tonight’s dinner. I pick up cheese and Italian sausage and veggies for a salad. I opt to grab a coffee too and then head to pick Coop up at school.

2PM Arrive at school for pickup. I have a quick discussion with one of Cooper’s shadows about his day. A shadow is someone who helps at school with social situations and any activities and transitions that Cooper might struggle with. Cooper’s shadows have been with him for about two years and work really hard to help him. Today she talked about how great he did at school and how much he loves music class. Then I load him up in the car and we’re off to speech therapy in Plano. Cooper loves speech and has a great session working on his play skills with his therapist, Jordan.

3PM We leave speech and head home to Prosper to meet his in-home ABA therapist. First we hit Andy’s ice cream as a request from Cooper. I make him order to work on his speech. He always orders a vanilla scoop in a cup.

3:30PM Cooper and I work with his therapist on his in-home goals. Most of his in-home goals are to increase his social skills. Today, he has a play date with our next-door neighbor. Cooper has a language delay, which can make playing with his peers difficult. The therapist is ensuring that they take turns appropriately and is helping to facilitate their play, while I head off to start on dinner.

5PM Cooper’s therapist leaves and I continue to make dinner. I really love to cook and find it to be a stress-reliever. Tonight I am making homemade pizza and a salad. (Now if I could only find someone to do the dishes!) Cooper is on his iPad, listening to music and playing with his trucks on the table, while Barry finishes a meeting and heads out of his home office to join us.

6PM After dinner, I put Cooper in the shower. He requests the Moana soundtrack, and we sing while I help him get washed up. After our shower, he chooses his pajamas and we play with his Playmobil toys in his room. Cooper has a bus and an airplane Playmobil and we play pretend taking the people on the bus to school and for rides in the airplane.

7:15PM Cooper is in bed. We start reading Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes but we only make about four pages before he is done with the book. He requests momma cuddles and arm squeezes and asks me to play with his hair. He falls asleep quickly.

7:45PM He is asleep! I spend the rest of the evening straightening up. I do a load of laundry and then settle in front of my computer. Right now, I am applying for graduate school for an adult nurse practitioner program. I spend some time on my application. Barry heads back into his office to finish up some last-minute work.

9PM Barry and I both get ready for bed and climb in bed. He turns on the television to watch Netflix—right now, we are really into Stranger Things, but I am asleep before the episode is even half over.