Autism Awareness Month might have already passed, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t spread awareness outside of April. People sometimes wonder what exactly autism is. Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. But what exactly is the cause of autism and what are the chances of a child being diagnosed? Researchers have found that 1 out of 68 American children will be diagnosed with autism. Researchers also have found that cause of autism happens very early in a baby’s brain development, even before birth. They have found that it is mix of autism-risk genes and environmental factors that influence early brain development.
It’s tough understanding that if you know someone with autism, they’re not going to have the same experiences as you are. Since I have a brother with autism, I came to realize that. My younger brother Sam Morris was diagnosed with autism at two and a half years old. You may know Sam at school and may even be a peer tutor for him. I’m so grateful to you for helping him out in school if you are one of those people reading this.
With Sam, we do things differently at home and when we go places. For example, Sam loves going to church, but sometimes he disrupts the service. It was tough for us to listen to our pastor preach. Our solution for this, with the help of our church, was to build a little room where we could sit and still watch the sermon. The other people in the sanctuary could listen to Pastor Nathan preach the word of God. Dad likes to call the little room Sam’s club.
Sometimes living with Sam can be stressful when he doesn’t understand what certain things mean, and responding to his possible aggression can be tough. However, even with all the stress, Sam has been a bright light shining in our lives. I sometimes wonder why Sam has autism, but Dad tells me that God has a plan for my little brother. In the end, I feel blessed to have a little brother like him. It makes me so happy whenever he wants to play games with me. We play games like Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros and those are probably some of the best times I’ve had with him.
If you know someone with autism, I advise you to reach out to them, and show them that you care about them. It will mean so much to them if you do this. I especially give this advice out people whose siblings are autistic, because you are probably their biggest hero. Though there is no known cure for autism yet, we can still make a change in the world for these people and give them support.