Yes, my brother has autism and yes I know the term to refer someone who autism is ‘autistic’. But I just see the term ‘Autistic’ as a form of labelling. Yes, I’ve come to terms with my brother having autism months after he was diagnosed but my point is, I don’t like it when he’s being referred to as ‘autistic’ because it gives the idea that he has to act a certain way because he can’t do certain things and I don’t like that. Each and every individual with or without autism is different. I’ve opened my eyes to the idea (after reading Ellen Notbohms book) that my brother is able to do anything and everything. I can’t NOT expect him to do it because he has autism. No. I have to at least try. If I give off the vibe that I don’t think he can do it, he WILL pick it up and he’ll think ‘why try I can’t do it?’. And he won’t do it.
I can recall an experience that was very.. hard and upsetting for me. I remember we were at this clinic and we were just with the paedetrician and her trainee. The paed (too long to write D:) wanted my brother to give the ball to me. The trainee suddenly interjects and says ‘But he’s autistic,’ This happened during the early months when he was diagnosed with autism. And it was really hard because she (AND SHES A TRAINEE, HOW DOES THAT WORK?!) expected him not to do it and it was hard for me because it made me think perhaps he can’t do it? But I tried to not let it get to me. AND YES HE CAN PASS THINGS TO ME WHEN HE WANTS OK? He can also do when you want him to- IF YOU HAVE THE PATIENCE!
You have to believe that your sibling will do it. Because then at a slow or steady or whatever pace that suits them, they will try. And if they try and they don’t succeed. They could always try again. But if they try and they DO succeed, then it will be the best feeling in the world. Though as Ellen Notbohm states, there’s a difference between can’t and won’t. Sure if you have that vibe of your sibling not being able to do it, then don’t expect them to do it because they’ll have the idea that they can’t do it. But if in a situation your sibling won’t do a certain thing, please don’t believe its because they CAN’T do it. It’s probably because a) they don’t know how but b) they just won’t do it- but that doesn’t mean they can’t, so keep pushing.
Yesterday, my older brother referred to my younger brother as autistic. I can’t parade around forcing people to refer to my brother as a child with autism because at the end of the day, they may not think or see things the same way I do. Sure it hurt that he referred to him as ‘autistic’ but after I explained to my brother, he kind of got it. It’s important for my family to not refer my brother as an autistic child but as a child with autism considering we all live under one roof 🙂
So going a bit off the main topic, is this true? :O
I may just look into this a bit more 🙂
Now for some news. I’m setting up a project called ‘Autism and The Teen Sibling’ which you can find more about here:
And follow here:
The initial idea was for teens with a sibling that have autism to share their experiences and offer support and such but after posting on tumblr, I’ve decided that this is also a place for teens with autism who will also be able to share their experiences and perhaps offer support. Theres not support group that I’ve come across that offers support to both and I think thats the uniqe thing. Its really important for us to educate ourselves about autism but at the end of the day, we need to keep in mind that each and every individual is different and I think being able to read about experiences from both sides will gives us an indepth account of life with autism and how it can affect people in different ways 🙂
I’m not a saint and I don’t believe I can create a miracle but if I can create a place where people can be more understanding about autism and its affects then why not? It goes back to the whole being about not being able to do it. I won’t know unless I try. And if I can just open the eyes of just one person then its worth it. If I don’t, then I will continue to write in this blog and just enjoy life with my brother 🙂
Also on another note, I know some people with autism would want to be referred as being autistic and others differently. Just because I refer to my brother as someone with autism doesn’t mean I will call someone similar to my brother that. If that person wants me to refer to them as autistic, then I will. It’s just the matter of opinions and how people view things differently. I can see the difference when people refer to someone as being ‘autistic’ and referring to someone with autism. Theres negatives on both sides. I guess by saying that A has autism does sound like they have a disease but for me, its the same as saying A also has a flu. We don’t runaway when we say A has a flu because we know what a flu is. But when we say A has autism, I won’t run away because I know what autism is. But those who don’t understand or know what it is will. But a person with autism may or may not see that differently. Who knows. And maybe this project will be able to give teens a bit more knowledge on what autism is. But I think till people study upon the basics of what autism is, then the stigma from both will just disappear. When the day comes and my brother asks me to refer to him as autistic, then I will refer to him as autistic.
But wouldn’t life be easier to just refer to each other as an individual minus the labels?