I am thankful for all the people who came to my work's auction. The place was overflowing with people. This is so remarkable to see because these are people trying to understand Autism, donate to the cause, and are accepting. I go to work and to my brother's schools and know that there are handful of people who really care about Autism. But to walk into an auction that is swarmed with people from wall to wall is an amazing thing to witness, especially as a sister. In addition, I am thankful for the amazing people who I have been working with for the past few months. Not only are they doing tremendous things for people like my brother, but they have become some of the closest friends I could ever ask for. I know that you should never take your work home with you, but when I live Autism, I want to take my coworkers and clients home with me every night.
I wish people were more aware of the impact Autism has on siblings. There are tons of support groups for parents and not to take away from their pain at all -- but it is rarely talked about for siblings. Not because they don't realize it isn't a big deal, but because the #1 priority is getting the interventions the sibling with Autism needs. Not everyone is like me where we decide that Autism is going to be our life and we are going to work in the field. Some people resent it, some hurt from it more than others, some are less accepting than you can ever imagine, some have terrible relationships with their siblings and parents because of it, some grow from it, some become great advocates. Just like ever person with Autism, every case with the siblings is different too.
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.