I am thankful for the little moments with my brother that not many can understand. I think we all have connections with the other person in our friendships, families, relationships but ones with Sammy are so important that it brings a whole new meaning to it. Since we don't have the verbal communication, we have to rely on music, facial expressions, body language, laughs, etc. I'm so happy for the times he and I can share a smile with each other.
I want people to be aware of the fact that the majority of people with Autism aren't just socially awkward - there are a lot more cases where individuals cannot talk, need intense interventions, are not independent, will not get a job, will not live outside their parent's house, are not toilet trained, cannot get themselves dressed, will not go to a regular school, etc. If people do not realize this, then we cannot help those who are affected by Autism.
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.