For spring break, I got to do one of the best things I could think of. Since I have moved to Baltimore and gotten my job, I have spent very little time at home - unlike when I was attending Bloomsburg. So, for a whole week, I was able to spend it with my family. We didn't go anywhere or do anything spectacular - but I was able to just be at home and hang out like old times. It was something I will always be thankful for.
As I'm sure some of you know, the last few months, for me personally, have been extremely hard. I've had constant battles with my housing and my landlord, spent tons of money on plumbing and towing, and would even go so far to say I've experienced a broken heart. Even though I usually like to approach life with a tough and strong, unbeatable attitude - I found myself drowning. Not only did being home do great things for my mood - because my family always cheers me up - but it made me look at things in a completely different way.
Sitting there with Sammy and reflecting upon my first few months of 2014, I realized - Will Sam experience getting his car towed - will he learn to drive? Will Sam ever experience housing issues - will he ever live independently? Will Sam ever experience a broken heart - will he ever meet someone who he loves and they love him in return? Those are questions that will be left unanswered - but will constantly haunt me.
So, even though I really do hate feeling sad over guy, spent hours arguing with a landlord and plumber, or spent money (I didn't have) on towed car -- I have to seriously take a step back and realize, some people will never experience these things. Not because their first crush is their lifelong partner, notbecause they have tons of money to pay for household fixes, not because they have a driver and don't have to worry about parking -- NOT even because they don't want to experience any of these negative things. Everyone wants to fall in love. Everyone has problems with their house. Everyone wastes money. But will Sammy?
Even these upsetting experiences are a blessing in disguise - because at least I could experience and learn from learn. Sure he'll learn life experiences in different ways - but will he get to feel the butterflies in his stomach when his crush texts him, will he have the joy of celebrating his driver's license, will he experience his first kiss, will he have a party with a bunch of his house mates? All of these are great, once in a lifetime experiences, but they also come with not so great experiences - being broken up with, getting a speeding ticket, etc.
Autism from a sibling's point of view...
My name is Paige and I am 24 years old. I graduated from Towson University with a Psychology Bachelors Degree. I am now working towards my Master's in Education of Autism and other Pervasive Disorders at Johns Hopkins. I am also a Behavior Data Specialist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute Neurobehavioral Inpatient Unit. My younger brother, Sammy, is 19 and has Autism. He is completely non-verbal, unaware of safety, is not toilet trained, cannot get himself dressed, and has difficulty with everyday activities that we all take advantage of. He works harder every single day of his life than anyone I know and he always does it with a smile on his face. He is my true hero and inspiration and because of him, I have dedicated my life to advocating and creating opportunities for individuals with Autism. I hope that I can make him proud and this blog is just a small part of the awareness I hope I can create about Autism and support other siblings impacted by Autism. I love you Sammy - thank you for everything.