Updated: Jul 3
My brother is my world; he is the kindest, funniest sweetest man you will meet. However, there are many challenging moments. My brother is seven years older than me and has autism; we have this unique relationship which is very different from the usual sibling one. Having a brother who is deemed different by society and therefore treated differently has been a difficult thing for me to understand.
Watching family and friends treat my brother differently purely because of his autism would anger me. I would question why people think it is okay to abuse his sweet nature and his black and white view on the world. I have witnessed various people try to belittle him. I constantly find myself reminding my brother that he's allowed a voice and his opinion matters. Recently, I have been reflecting on why this is a recurring conversation. I have come to the conclusion that it is the lack of understanding of what autism actually is. People believe autism is Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory whereas, in reality autism is based on a spectrum and there is not a 'one size fits all'. This lack of understanding leads people to behave badly when they meet an autistic person. Imagine if every time we go in public people are judging the way you behave. How would you feel? I would certainly feel an outcast.
The only real media coverage autism has had is in relation to the MMR vaccination. The articles and news headlines were all negative. Henceforth, societies perception of autism is a pessimistic one. I am now thinking how as his sister, I can best ensure society has a better understanding of my brother. I guess it all begins with awareness. What do you think?