The Important Lessons My Brother With Autism Taught Me


Dear Autism,

You took away my brother’s words. You took away his eye contact. You introduced yourself in a rapid fashion. The babbling, the lack of eye contact, repetitive behaviors, and the lack of social awareness became my brother. These symptoms didn’t only consume his life, it consumed mine as well.

We wanted to get rid of you. Neurologists, psychiatrists, and therapists confronted you. I remember the countless hours my brother spent in doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions. But you didn’t shake. You didn’t budge. You weren’t afraid. You wouldn’t be sent away.

I was afraid of you. I became afraid of the meltdown that was to occur in a noisy restaurant. I became afraid of people calling my brother an “animal” again. I became afraid of walking aimlessly in a hospital again because the autism “spells” came with self-injurious behaviors. I became afraid of the scornful looks my family and I would receive from others who didn’t know you. I became afraid of losing friends – you were “weird” to them. I was angry with you. How dare you think you can control my life?

Autism, you came with a darkness. Yet, you also came with light. You opened my eyes to the difficult truths of our world – some people will judge and reject you all due to a “difference,” and some people will be discriminated against all due to a “difference.” You also showed me that a person must speak up and stand for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Autism, you taught me the importance of patience, kindness, tolerance, and acceptance. I accepted you, Autism. Once I accepted you, I saw your light shine within my brother’s spirit. I saw you glow in my brother’s smiles and laughs. You communicated to us through my brother’s brilliant poetry.

My brother is kind and loving. I am so proud of him. Thank you for sharing your kindness and love for others though my brother, Autism. I look forward to seeing my brother’s bright future with you.

woman sitting on a bench with her brother

Thanks again,

Sophia

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