If you want to know something about sport, he will tell you the name of the person that plays for what team. He’ll even tell you the date they joined if you have a tendency to know.
If you ask him about a holiday, he will tell you it was to Portugal 2011, and on the Thursday we went to watch Barcelona play and they won 3-0. The last time he ate prawns was on a Friday 4 years ago, but he didn’t like the texture. He is one of a kind with the most wonderful abilities.
He is caring. He is funny. He is him.
His ways are not like mine and not like many, his unique ways often get seen as ‘weird’.
My brother has autism.
Acceptance wasn’t easy. The typical words of certain teachers saying he’s not as well behaved as you or he doesn’t take after you, the look on my friends / boyfriends face when they first heard the funny noises he would make.
To compensate for the disability, I decided I needed to be the best at everything. For as long as I remember, I dreamt about going to university and making my parents above and beyond proud. I wanted to be that clever child that people didn’t expect. To me, I could be the only ‘proof’ that my parents were good parents so that other people didn’t judge. Let me tell you I could not have been more wrong…
To be that person dealing with a disability on a day-to-day basis means every day is something different. One day it’s chaotic the next it’s rewarding. You grow up before your time. I remember a friend saying to me you’ve grown up far too quick, but I always had that motherly instinct. I felt like in school I needed to be there for him. Why has he had no dinner? Why is he walking around on his own? Sometimes I love him and sometimes I hate him and that’s ok. You have to change a lot – maybe put your phone on silent or change the time you shower so it doesn’t interrupt his routine. However, the life experiences you gain turn you into a caring and independent adult who knows the true value of family.
I have always been a confident person; I could talk the legs off a donkey (literally). So, trying to understand and accept that my brother didn’t want to hang out with friends or go out anywhere was difficult. At times, I often felt confused how somebody could be so scared to talk to other people (I mean I loved it). I didn’t understand why he didn’t want a phone – I couldn’t part with mine. I wondered and still do wonder on his bad days if he does hate his big sister, but then an hour later he wants a movie night with me. I didn’t understand why he looked so normal but he didn’t act what is judged as ‘the norm’.
What I don’t question is will he be ok? Because I know he will be. He has faced challenges that I myself and you will probably never face. He is a blessing that has made me more aware of all the differences around us. Because of him I am a more patient, kind and helpful lady.
Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are; accepting that each individual is different and some a little bit more different makes you a better person. At no time is anyone above you. Disabilities unravels feelings and emotions, you never know where the tunnel ends, but you walk with your family and travel the distance. My parents are the most inspiring, caring and loving people and with their determination and persistence, Kyle and I have grown up as strong young adults with respect, love and loyalty.
To him, you are you. Don’t you ever change. The crazy outbursts you have has made us stronger. You have defined caring and family for me. By your side I will always stay.
To any siblings, you are brave and your mum and dad love you just as much, but your sibling needs that extra bit of attention. Keep being bold and brave. You do get your rewards; they are your reward.
If anybody would like a chat about having some in your life that has a disability, please contact me so we can share our stories and tips.
Does anybody have any positive memories or tips on being a sibling to someone with autism?