3 years old My typical daughter is building blocks. Painstakingly, she stacks them neatly making a tall tower. In walks her autistic brother and in one fell swoop, knocks them down. He thinks it’s hilarious. My daughter looks at her hard work now scattered about the floor. Then she looks at her brother’s laughing face and she starts to cry.

 5 years old My daughter wants a friend. She approaches her autistic brother and in a gesture of kindness, she offers him one of her toy animals. He accepts it gladly. She reaches for one of his action figures but with no intention of reciprocating the kind gesture, he roughly pushes her away. With hurt feelings, my daughter turns around with her head hung low.

 
7 years old My daughter wants to play monopoly. She invites her brother to join her but he keeps taking the pieces off the board and lines them up instead. In frustration, she throws everything back in the box and stalks off.

 11 years old My daughter is excited. We’re going on vacation and she wants to plan. She tries to discuss her ideas with her brother but he keeps talking about a blue whale. “You’re just stupid” she screams at him as she runs from the room. He stares after her, not knowing why he made her so mad.

15 years old
My daughters friends come over. They watch TV, eat pizza and have a good time. As they’re saying good-bye, her brother walks in, notices the pizza and begins to flap his arms. Everyone laughs at him and somebody comments “You’re a freak family”. In dismay she screams at her brother “You’re an embarrassment and I never want to be seen with you again”.

 16 years old My daughter is playing in a soccer match. With less than a minute to go, she is feeling over confident. Knowing she should pass the ball to her team player, she goes for the goal instead. She misses. The buzzer rings. The game is lost. Her team is mad. Everybody Boo’s at her. As she looks up into the jeering crowd, she suddenly spots her biggest fan. Her brother. Not caring what anyone else thinks, he is cheering wildly. He knows she did her best and he is proud. Her heart fills with love and tears spring to her eyes.

 17 years old Walking out of school, my daughter is approached by the guy she has a huge crush on. To her delight, he asks her out and she accepts readily. “I was only joking” he says and everyone begins to laugh. Knowing she was set up, my daughter is crushed. Even her friends are not willing to risk ridicule and they lower their eyes, avoiding my daughters gaze. Suddenly her brother walks out the school. He doesn’t know what happened but he knows his sister is distressed. Not caring about public opinion or swayed by popularity, he walks up to his sister, gives her a huge grin, interlocks his arm in hers and leads her away. With deep gratitude and tears in her eyes, she clutches on to him as they walk away.

 20 years old My daughter fails her college test. Everywhere she turns, she faces disappointed stares. There is pity in everyone’s eyes. In walks her brother. He understands she failed her test but it doesn’t define her as a person. “Can you take it again?”, he asks. "Yes" she replies. "OK", he says innocently. Then he smiles broadly at his sister and asks if she wants to watch a DVD. She is filled with love for him and the two walk off together.

 24 years old My daughter is at her job. Her boss offers her complimentary tickets to a famous tennis match. My daughter is filled with excitement and thanks him profusely. “Who are you going to take?” he asks. “My best friend of course”, she says dialing the phone. “Hello” says her brother as he picks up on the other side.

 To all those with autism, thank you for your unconditional love and for accepting us as we are. May we take a leaf out of your book and learn to do the same for you. -

By Jene Aviram
This article is property of and copyright © 2003-2007 Jene Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts. Reference of this article may only be included in your documentation provided that reference is made to the owner - Jene Aviram and a reference to this site http://www.nlconcepts.com

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Comments:

Mom2P...
Oct. 11, 2007 at 11:23 AM My daughter is already like this at 8.  She is such a great little sister. She tells everyone who her best friend is ....she always says her brother.

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natha...
Oct. 11, 2007 at 11:24 AM This was wonderful.  It gives me hope about what Nathan's relationship will be with Amy and Zachary.  If I can have that end result when they reach their later years, I'll gladly suffer through the problems that I can see are coming.

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hope4...
Oct. 11, 2007 at 1:47 PM Thanks Karen!  I see so much of what is written (ages 3, 5) with Nate & Emma.  The more I read, the more teary I got!  I think on a lot of levels I  needed to read something like this!  Thanks again!

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thing...
Oct. 25, 2007 at 9:29 PM

This is marvelous. Jonah has been Caleb's champion pretty much all his life. He will tell anyone that Caleb is autistic, but he will also tell them that Caleb can outplay him on some of the way-too-old video games they play ("T" rated-usually involve dinosaurs killing people or superheroes foiling villains) and that he knows the names, diets, geographic locations and eras of at least 75 dinosaurs. He will tell them that Caleb is in a regular classroom with support and that most everybody likes him, even if they are the kids who aren't actually his friends (and he actually does have NT friends to a certain extent in school). He will tell them that Caleb has a fabulous sense of humor and that he has a freakishly well-developed photgraphic memory. He will not tolerate anyone putting Caleb down in the least, and tells everyone that Caleb is very intelligent, albeit a bit weird. Caleb adores chasing, wrestling and playing video games with Jonah. Then you have Elisha, who just loves to bug the hell out of both of them, but geuinely cares about them, too. This is the kind of relationship I hope they maintain their whole lives. Thanks so much for sharing this touching piece!

Cheryl 

 

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