On Monday, we watched a movie in my Autism class about two adults with Autism who were unable to communicate until they tried typing. Now as adults, they visit conferences and individuals with Autism all over the world to discuss their issues and advocacy. This is amazing. I would love to do this as a sister of Autism, but I would love it even more if Sammy was able to do something like this. Even if he didn't travel all over the world, as long as he could use something like a computer or iPad to communicate effectively. And I don't mean just to tell us when he wants to eat or drink; to tell us what he thinks about a certain issue or about his feelings. In this movie, these individuals carried on normal conversations. Granted, it took a little more time because they had to type it out, but it was so incredible.
One of the kids they adults visited mentioned that "Autism is lonely." This kills me. Is Sammy lonely? This kid was at least able to communicate. Sammy's communication is limited -- is he lonely? is he happy? is he bored? I'm a very outspoken person, I couldn't imagine having my communication restricted. How do people with Autism do it? Obviously, they have no choice -- but how can they stand it?
I can't even think about this, let alone finish the entry -- it hurts too much to think of how lonely the world of Autism might be -- how much pain is Sammy in? Why can't I do anything? I'm his older sister, I'm suppose to protect him from pain -- and I can't.
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.