Sammy will be starting another year of school at the Vista School this week. For the first time in quite a few years, he will be moving onto the high school and be with an entirely new staff. Sammy has been working with the same people for years and has resided in the middle school and it is finally time for him to transfer.
On one hand, I couldn't be more excited for him. New environment, new teachers, new therapists, new peers, etc. A whole new experience for him -- will it be life changing? But on the other hand, I'm scared. What if he doesn't feel comfortable? What if we lose time because new people are trying to get to know him? What if he's not ready?
Don't get me wrong -- it's not that I don't have faith in Sammy that he will succeed. It's not even that I don't have faith in his new team. Sammy has an amazing push and stubborn will. I know that he is ready, he will do great things. I'm afraid of "the fit."
All of us fear moving on or growing up because of missing home, meeting new people, trying to fit in, etc. Not only does Sammy have to deal with these new experiences, but he has to figure out how to do everything he needs to do everyday all over again. The routine is going to be completely different. His life will be temporarily flipped upside down.
Knowing Sammy is moving to the high school is also freaking me out because it means he is one step closer to becoming 21. One step closer to graduating high school. One step closer to not having somewhere to go during the day to learn and maintain skills. One step closer to possibly living with me. I just applied to a few grad schools, which is scary enough -- but knowing my acceptance to these schools could change what Sammy does at age 21 makes it 10x more intense. His progress marks my progress -- if I'm not making progress, I am failing my brother.
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.