This month is Autism Acceptance Month! I’d like to share this short piece with you all.
What is it like having a younger brother on the low-end of the autism spectrum?
I have three words –
Imagine seeing a loved one remain trapped in a body; unable to communicate their feelings easily to others around them. Imagine the isolation they must feel not being able to convey their pain, joy, and sadness, while others look on in pity, disgust and fear. Imagine what goes through their heads, as they self-harm and draw blood in the process. Is self-harm a release from our inability to understand them? Or is it just a way to make them feel more alive?
The disorder itself is so diverse; one becomes extremely aware of the multitudinous differences in personalities not just in people on the spectrum but also in neurotypicals. Seeing Chris struggle with social communication, daily tasks and the lack of motivation to do anything else because no one believes he can is hurtful and eye opening. It makes you see how valuable it is to be more accommodating and understanding to others no matter how difficult they may be to interact with. You realise that neurodiversity can actually be an exciting thing and welcome it. Being more aware of what people go through is invaluable.
You have a shiny, new Gucci handbag? You had a smashing time in Barbados? Got a job at Wall Street? Fantastic! All these pale in comparison to the joy I feel when I see Chris happy. He doesn’t need these things. He knows not the meaning of their value or why people covet them. In the grand scheme of things, they are utterly pointless commodities unless you have friends to share them with. He doesn’t understand the concept of friends. I don’t even know if he understands the concept of family. How can I know? All I can do is continue to show him unconditional love and understanding.