AuSM family featured on Family Dinner with Andrew Zimmern
It’s not every day that an AuSM community member is featured on a TV show with an internationally acclaimed chef, but Sheletta Brundidge has a special kind of spark that attracts the spotlight.
That spark is what landed the Brundidge family on an episode of Family Dinner, the new show hosted by Andrew Zimmern that’s streaming now on Discovery Plus.
“This blessing just kind of fell into my lap,” Brundidge said. “I was folding laundry at home last year around this time when I got a phone call from Mary Kay, a scout for Zimmern’s production company.”
Mary Kay told Brundidge about Family Dinner, which takes Zimmern into the homes of families across the country to have dinner and learn about their traditions. She then invited Brundidge and her family to participate.
“Of course I said yes! I couldn’t turn the opportunity to hang out with my favorite celebrity chef,” Brundidge said.
When he arrived at the Brundidge house for dinner, Zimmern noticed that things were a little bit different.
Brundidge noted, “My husband Shawn and I have four children, Andrew (14), Brandon (8), Cameron, our only daughter (7) and Daniel (6). Brandon, Cameron, and Daniel have all been diagnosed with autism.”
When Zimmern walked in, he saw wall dividers set up and observed Brandon, Cameron, and Daniel participating in virtual speech therapy.
“Zimmern was blown away,” Brundidge said. “He started asking questions about the children and their progress and what life is like having three kids on the spectrum. It took over the conversation and he kept asking questions and I kept giving answers.”
This was something Brundidge hadn’t anticipated. “Honestly, I wasn’t even trying to create autism awareness, but I realized that living as our authentic selves sent an important message.”
Once Zimmern got Brundidge talking about autism, she realized that it was a great opportunity to show the world her family, including their challenges and triumphs.
“It’s so important that we share our journey to encourage and inspire one another. I hope that when my fellow autism moms and dads see our family’s story on Family Dinner they draw strength from our success. We’ve got to start seeing more real stories about our real journies with our real children to know that we can have real progress and real success.”