6 Lessons I Learned From My Brother With Autism

1. Be grateful for everything that you are able to do.

My brother can do a lot of things, but he will never understand financial matters or the danger of walking into traffic or walking in a parking lot. He will never be able to brush his teeth on his own. He will never be able to speak. These are things that we all take for granted, but we shouldn’t.

2. Always thank people for what they do for you.

Every time after I cut his fingernails and toenails, he gives me a thank-you hug.

3. Take pleasure in the little things.

My brother’s face lights up when he puts the coins in the laundry, slides the slot in and       press starts.

4. Everyone has their own way of doing things.

My brother has his own way of doing things. When he washes dishes, he stands in a certain corner, even if you need to wash dishes, too. I used try to correct his way of doing things, but he resumes washing the dishes the way he wants to. That’s when I realized what he was trying to show me: there is no right way to do things; it is just your personal preference and how you choose to do them.

5. Don’t be afraid to show that you are sorry.

There are certain behaviors that my brother has no control over. After his meltdowns are over, he hugs my mother and me. I think that is his way to show us he is sorry.

6. No matter what life throws at you, you are stronger than you think.

For years, my brother has seizures. He would never want to remain lying on the floor afterward. He would always fight to get up. We would eventually concede and help him to do this, but it made me realize that my brother is one of the strongest people I know.

Luckily, with research, we have gotten his seizures under control, but I will never forget this lesson or all the other lessons that my brother has taught me so far and continues to teach me.

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