At the beginning of this week, I skyped with one of my good friends, Erin Johnson. She is a teacher and has been teaching her 4th graders about disabilities and equality. More specifically, she has been talking to them about Autism. She had approached me a few months ago and asked if I would be interested in skyping with her students to answer some of their questions. Of course, I agreed and it was a great experience!
Not only was I astonished by how mature each question seemed to be, but how interested the students were about Sammy. Their questions ranged from asking me what Sammy does in his free time, how he communicates, what we do when he is teased, to why I created my blog. That question alone stopped my in my tracks. For as long as I have written my blog and for as many people read it, I have never been asked why I write it. Maybe it is because it is obvious... but is it?
I write my blog for many reasons. There is so much out there for parents, but very few for a sibling. There are so many blogs out there that give voice to the higher functioning side of the spectrum because those individuals are able to speak their mind and create a blog. There are not a lot of blogs out there for people like Sammy, because they are unable. So, not only do I want to spread Autism awareness, but I want to give a voice for people who are the side of the spectrum that Sammy is on, and to help other siblings out there.
Speaking with Erin's class was really eye opening and gave me a lot of great ideas. It is so amazing how much we can all make a difference if we just talk to people and explain. Her class is so accepting of and interested in Sammy. Hats off to Erin for being such an amazing person and teaching such a great lesson! It meant so much to me that her students were so interested and sweet regarding my brother.
Thank you to Erin's class for being so accepting and loving -- and for their wonderful questions and inspiration for future blog ideas!
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.