Spending the last two weeks with my family was absolutely amazing. It is very rare that I get this kind of time with them after moving to Maryland. It was especially important to me because I was able to spend so much time with Sammy, which I rarely get these days since he goes to and from school and his dad's.
Seeing Sammy always makes me happy. It always reminds me of what is important in the world. All of my petty minimal issues get thrown out the window, because he reminds me to be thankful. He goes through so much, yet wakes up with a smile on his face everyday. Even if he is mad, its obviously totally justified, but its not even as mad I could ever imagine being if I couldn't express my needs and wants. I would be livid if people were constantly speaking for me and I couldn't be independent. Sammy is 16. Think back to when you were 16, not only were you probably starting to drive, but you were fighting for your independence. Sammy requires someone to succeed. He needs someone's help 24/7. And not just with the difficult things, he needs it for the most simplest things. Like going to the bathroom or getting dressed. What happens to your dignity?
I am so thankful for Sammy being in my life because he has made me the person I am. But also, he has taught me a lot. He shows me there are so many things to be happy for and there are so many things we take advantage of.
One of my favorite moments while I was home was when Sammy and I were sitting in my room. We do this a lot, just lay on the bed, relax and listen to music. I usually shoot ideas at him because I know he's listening. But, of course, he peed... EVERYWHERE! So, I kicked him out of my room and an hour later, my mom let him in and he came in, laid next to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. An obvious apology! The most thoughtful thing I have ever experienced. Even though he's a shit head, he's lovable.
Autism from a sibling's point of view...
My name is Paige and I am 26 years old. I graduated from Towson University with a Psychology Bachelors Degree and from Johns Hopkins with a Post-Bacc Certificate in Education of Autism and other Pervasive Disorders at . I recently left my job at Kennedy Krieger Institute and began my Master's Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at University of South Florida. My younger brother, Sammy, is 20 and has Autism. He is non-vocal, 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.