Six years ago, on Nov. 29, 2011, a unique individual joined my family. As another sibling was born into my family, we were so excited to welcome her with open arms. Watching the little one grow up was a great world of joy.
During the first three years, we noticed a slight difference in her character. As we observed, she was not able to talk or communicate well with others. She could barely say a few words and repeated the same routine throughout the day. The smallest things would keep her entertained at all times. The family felt it was necessary to take further action and look into the matter. Specialists tested her character and communication skills, and she was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.
Autism could seem disheartening to the child’s loving family, knowing she would not be able to live a normal lifestyle. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It brought the family closer together and made us appreciate each other even more. The family stuck together and was willing to go through this journey with the little one.
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulty in communication and forming relationships with others, which explained why she was distant at times. She was still aware of her surroundings and always knew the difference between family and friends. Our immediate family is always aware of what she is doing and helping to improve her character. The whole family plays a part; doing what they can to make sure the little one is as comfortable as possible.
Although she is usually in her own little world and acts as if no one is watching, the family always keeps her in sight no matter what. Even with autism, she is still a very loving and caring individual, who knows her family will always be there for her.
Being a college student and traveling back and forth from John A. Logan College, it is a great relief to come home and see how much she has grown as a person. I look forward to her running into my arms for a big hug. Those moments will forever be priceless for me.
As her big brother, in this family tree, I have always believed that it was my job to protect and love her the best I can. I make sure she is alright and keep her on track improving her communication and interpersonal skills with my family.
Most people with autism spectrum disorder are very smart individuals. Even though they have difficulties with communication, they still have the ability to listen and interpret what they are taught and told to do. They also know how to communicate with others when they are in need of something, by either bringing the person to what they want or pointing to it and eventually trying to speak.
Autism should be recognized more often. Families should be able to find a reason why their kids or siblings may be different. Autism may, and could be, the answer to those behaviors. It is not a problem, it is a blessing to the families lucky enough to experience a different lifestyle with the person who has autism.
Written by A. Jonathan Seabrook
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Nicki Seabrook – Used With Permission