All children depend on their families for encouragement to step out into the world—and for a safe place to return. For children with autism, to whom the world may seem overwhelming, this is especially true.
Siblings can make a real difference. More than 25 years ago, after my son was diagnosed with autism, a wise therapist told my daughter: “Your brother will have lots of teachers. You need to be his friend.” Happily, she’s turned out to be both (see below!). No one makes him laugh harder, cheer up faster, or dream bigger. He thinks she’s “really nice and funny” and likes when she plays guitar with him or shares a day at the beach. She admires how he radiates cheer and treats everyone he loves with kindness and concern. They’re each other’s biggest fans. It’s important to celebrate each unique and amazing family member, and to be there for each other through thick and thin. Families forever!
There are lots of different ways to have a brain, and they are all amazing. One way to have a brain is called autism. I’m autistic, just like Julia, and I’m so excited you’re going to read this story.
Autistic people are important parts of our families. We are children, brothers, and sisters—and we are also mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. We might show our love in unique ways, or play a little differently, or use something besides words to talk, but that’s just part of what makes us and our families so amazing. And when our families and friends understand us, and help us when things get tough, we can have really great lives. And that’s the most amazing thing of all.
AUTISTIC SELF ADVOCACY NETWORK