We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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As a child, I often saw my brother do different things that I didn’t understand. He would need medicine or would get mad at certain things. I was young so although I knew that he had autism, I didn’t know that his autism caused his actions. As time passed I realized that people with disabilities act differently and are seen as different. I always thought that everyone saw my brother the same way I did, as someone who has the same functionality as everyone else. I saw someone who was fun to hang around, not as someone with a disability. I soon realized that a lot of people saw him as an autistic kid. They saw someone who needed a different teacher than everyone else. They only saw someone who needed his parents with him at all times. I started seeing what everyone else saw. 

As I grew, my brother changed too. I guess the older he got, the more his autism changed. He became more violent and destructive. He would throw temper tantrums, and he would need medicine to calm him down. When I first started realizing that my brother had autism I was unhappy, annoyed, frustrated because I thought that he was making my life difficult. I would be embarrassed to be seen with him and get mad when he would scream or demand things. Almost everything he did made me unhappy. It made life very difficult, so I started to stop communicating with my brother. I started to blame a lot of different things on him. My sister realized this, and she was quite unhappy with me. One day we talked. She said that I couldn’t dislike my brother forever or it would make my life more difficult. I wasn’t happy with our conversation, so I ignored her advice. Then I realized she was right. He is my brother, and he will always be my brother. If I continued to not talk to him and get annoyed with him then that would just make my life so much more difficult. 

The realization changed me. I talked to my brother again, although it still was a bit difficult. Nonetheless, we were talking. Instead of feeling annoyed as soon as I saw him, I saw my brother. I didn’t see someone who made me so mad. I saw someone who is a part of my life, and even though some things are difficult with him he will always be a part of my life. 

When I think of life now, we still have challenges. My brother still will be violent and yell. I do still get mad about it, but it doesn’t stay, I get mad for a bit, and then it goes away. I realized that he can’t control it. I realized that my brother is funny, kind, and considerate when he is calmer. It took a while to realize that, but it finally came to me. My brother has changed my entire life, in both positive and negative ways. I understand that my brother has autism, and I know how to treat him. I talk to him kindly and I know to be patient with him if he is struggling or even if I am trying to talk to my mom and he interrupts me. He’s made me a better person and my life wouldn’t be the same without him.

© Clare Mosley. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.