A sibling’s viewpoint on autism awareness  

April is autism awareness month as quite a few of you are aware of. I have been seeing a lot of arguments lately about autism awareness vs. trying to find a cure. I’ll be honest, it is pissing me off. The comments seem to be all about accepting people the way they are (which is great) vs. changing the way people are. As if by trying to find a cure, we are somehow not accepting people the way they are. That is ridiculous!

I have an analogy for you. Let’s play a little pretend. For a second, let’s pretend that autism is depression. Perhaps you have a sibling with a mild case of depression. His depression made him a great artist. Some days he can paint and create wonderful masterpieces. The next day, he can’t get out of bed. When you take him out to restaurants he cries and that embarrasses you. You don’t want to take the depression away because then he might not be a great artist. But you want everyone to know he is depressed because sometimes he acts in ways that are not socially acceptable.

Now I am going to paint another scenario. Perhaps you have a sibling that is depressed. But your sibling has one suicide attempt after another after another. It tears your whole family apart. 

If you lived out the first scenario, good for you. I’m glad that you were able to go to restaurants and do things that other normal families get to do. I can understand why you might be holding the awareness and acceptance card. But we lived out scenario number two. 

When my mother got her first black eye and bloody lip, it was autism.

When my brother banged his head against the wall over and over, it was autism.

When my brother rocked himself to sleep until he got blood on his sheets, it was autism.

For the scars people could see, it was autism.

For the scars people couldn’t see, it was autism.

When I lost my best friend, it was autism.

When my brother was lead out of school in handcuffs, it was autism.

When family and friends turned away, it was autism.

When my brother was ridiculed and mocked, it was autism.

When he chased me with a knife, it was autism.

When my parents had to find a caregiver to attend my wedding, it was autism.

When my daughter was attacked, it was autism.

Of course, I want a fricken cure!

May God have mercy on all those that suffer from this. I am hoping that someday autism will be a preventable.

You have no idea how terrified I was to have children. Or how nervous I was when my brother Luke had children. Or how much I worry about the possible future family of my brother Mark and his new bride. I don’t know if any of us have the strength to live through that again.

My mom always said that my brother Matt did not do these terrible things, it was autism. 

Autism you suck! Why did you do this to my brother?


2 thoughts on “A sibling’s viewpoint on autism awareness  

  1. It is very hard for you, your Mom and the rest of your family to have to live with autism. I know it’s not the same thing but my youngest sister (younger by 10 years and 2 days) was finally diagnosed as bi-polar. By the time she was diagnosed I had already moved out but my younger siblings have told me some horror stories about having to live with her. I know it’s frightening to think that your own children could be born with a mental health affliction and I am very thankful for the way my kids have developed into healthy adults. I don’t know if I would have had the strength to deal with it…Although my youngest, in his early teens, had to undergo counselling, but that was for something much different and another story….Great post, Alissa…. Dave 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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