I’ve recently started working with adults with Autism. I mainly work with those like my brother who are nonverbal and not very independent. However, there are some individuals at this facility who are highly independent, hold jobs, and can communicate. Will Sammy ever get there? Or will he be like the clients I work with?
When working with one of my more severe clients and trying to assess his abilities – I realized, he was like a “giant toddler.” No disrespect obviously – but that was the level that he is on. Right now, you could even compare Sammy to a tall toddler. This scares me. Will he still be considered at a “toddler-like level” at the age of 25? Will he ever hold a job? Will he ever be toilet trained? Will he ever get himself dressed? Will he ever be verbal? Will he be able to communicate more than “I want…?” Will he ever be able to get himself dressed? Take a shower? Prepare a meal?
As much as I love my job and working with these individuals, it kills me to think that this could one day be Sammy. Where is the cure? Why are there so many people with Autism still non verbal, still dependent on someone, still totally lost in their own world after the age of 21? Or even the age of 18…12…7?
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.