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I'm Autistic, and My Brother Is Neurotypical. This Is the Story of Our Bond.

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My brother and I have a special bond. We’ve always been close and our disagreements are few and far between. He, who is almost four years my junior, and I, traded places as to who seems “older” and “younger” in some ways some time ago, probably somewhere in our 20s. He’s always been future-driven, whereas I’ve always stopped to smell the roses and have just taken life one day at a time. He’s the more serious one, and I’m the one who likes to live for the moment. However, he’s learned to lighten up some over the years and knows life isn’t the same without a dash of fun! Oh, and by the way, my brother is neurotypical, and I’m autistic.

I remember years ago, my brother used to get so hung up about certain things. Take when he was in high school, for example. He wanted to fit in, be popular, date. Dating has never appealed to me, and the thought of others’ opinions of me didn’t even cross my mind. In fact, I couldn’t understand why my peers were suddenly so consumed by it. Over the past few years, he learned to let go and live his life without worrying so much about it. He focused on what he wanted out of life, and now, he has a lot of the things he’s always dreamed of and couldn’t be happier!

My brother is doing so well. He has a great job and is outstanding with money. I have three jobs and am not so great at managing money, hah. I’m impulsive and love to shop… hey, I have ADHD in addition to being autistic! He is in many ways the more “responsible” one; he owns his own house, his own boat and has a high position at his job. That’s not to say I’m irresponsible; I work in human services and need to look out for the residents, my “peeps,” as I endearingly call them, and need to be able to react in emergency situations in worst case scenarios. I’m also responsible for supervising them while they take their medications. So… I’m a responsible person, but it seems it’s always easier to look after others than it is to do the same for myself. It looks like I’m doing pretty well in life, too, after all.

At the end of the day, despite our differences, my brother and I complement each other. He serves as a sounding board for when I need to vent, and I do the same for him. He gives me financial pointers, and I give him advice on what to do next when he is contemplating options in a given situation.

So… that’s the story about how different, yet very close, an autistic sibling and a neurotypical sibling can be!

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Photo by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

Originally published: February 21, 2018
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