4 Things I’d Like My Future Step-Siblings to Know About My Autism


In less than a week, you will become my step-sister and step-brothers. Over the last year, we’ve had many adventures together: the amusement park, the science museum, the water park, the movies, restaurants and so many others. It’s been fabulous, but I’d be lying if I said it was always easy. You see, I have autism, a developmental disability, which sometimes makes things harder for me. Here are four things I’d like you to understand about me before I become your step-sister:

Chloe Rothschild the mighty.2-001

1. Why I get to use my gadgets at restaurants.

You probably don’t think it’s fair that I get to use my iPad, phone and or headphones at restaurants. If you tried using them, you’d more than likely be told no. Why am I allowed to have fidget toys at the dinner table or you’re not? Let’s think about it like this: When I play my iPad, it allows me to cope better. My iPad serves as a tool. This tool allows me to focus and participate to the best of my ability. It keeps me calm.

Sometimes, the world of autism can just be too much and this helps. I don’t expect you to fully understand this yet, since you’re young. It will come with time. In the meantime, know that I love you, and I’m sorry if you feel like things aren’t always fair.

2. Why I get frustrated sometimes.

You’ve seen me get frustrated and upset occasionally. I’m sure you sometimes wonder why. I’m sure you probably have questions. Please know that you can always ask questions. You see, autism affects my ability to communicate and to get the right words out when I want to say them. Sometimes, this results in frustration. Please know that I’m trying hard each and every single day.

3. Why I’m by myself.

I’m sure you wonder why I spend so much time in my room. My sensory system and the way I take in and process things going on in the environment around is different than how you process things. Coping requires extra effort, extra tools and extra breaks.

4. Why I love you.

Above all else, please know this: I love you. I’m so grateful that you accept me, support me and love me. Please know I’m excited for the many more adventures that lie ahead in the future.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

To the Educators Who Don’t ‘Get’ My Child’s Epilepsy

Dear Teacher/Principal/Counselor, I’m writing to you today to express my thoughts about my child with uncontrolled epilepsy and hopefully give you some insight into her. First, I would like to say a large majority of you do an amazing job. I don’t think I would cope with looking after 30 minions every day and taking [...]

Watch These Athletes Describe Special Olympics in One Word

“Special Olympics” are two words that make a big impact in the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities and spectators in the stands. More than 6,500 athletes from more than 200 countries gathered when the 2015 World Games were in Los Angeles from July 25 to August 2, 2015. The Mighty asked athletes from around the world to describe Special Olympics [...]

Mental Health Recovery Isn’t Always Daisies, Puppies and Rainbows (and That’s OK)

A lot of folks are surprised when I tell them that, despite having a great combination of meds and coping skills, bipolar recovery, for me, does not look like complete and total stability. I still have ups and downs, and sometimes those mood swings are more intense than you’d expect for someone who calls this [...]

You Need to Hear This Former NFL Player’s Speech About Mental Illness

During his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, former NFL player Charles Haley spoke up in a moving and humorous speech about a part of his career previously left in the shadows — his mental health. “I walked into the league a 22-year-old man with a 16-year-old inside of me screaming for help, and [...]