Thursday, 2 April 2015
World Autism Awareness Day: Thoughts From a Big Sister
As I sit here waiting for my evening lecture to begin, some thoughts came to me that I would love to quickly share.
I have been given the blessing to love, and live with my little brother who is in the autism spectrum. I have learned so much from my brother and he has helped me evolve in ways I don't think I could have if I didn't have him. There is a 6 year age gap between us and I was aware pretty early on that my brother is different. Over the years I have grown to love and appreciate this difference between us and I would not ask Allah to change him. People living with Autism come in all shapes, sizes and colours. They may look different from you and I, or perhaps they may not. Either way our similarities are greater than our differences. One of the most important things I have learned is that they feel the same emotions as us. They can love, be happy, angry, overwhelmed and so on. However, when you are living with someone who does not have the basic communication skills to exhibit these emotions, you realize you have to find other ways to figure out what they are trying to say. You can only do that when you take the time to break through any of the barriers between the two of you and really get to know them. My mother always finds a way to remind me of how much my brother's autism has been a blessing for all of us. I no longer think of my brother as someone who has "special needs", I see him as a young boy who has been given the challenge to find different ways to thrive in this world. If you ask me, he is doing a pretty darn good job.