If You Give A Girl A Brother With Autism, You Create One Proud And Loving Sister
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If You Give A Girl A Brother With Autism, You Create One Proud And Loving Sister

To all the proud sisters in the world watching their little brother with autism become who he is meant to be.

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Kirsti and siblings
Kirsti Beaudoin

If you give a girl a brother with autism, she's going to ask a lot of questions.

When my little brother was growing up, I always knew he was different from my friend's brothers. My brother did not like loud sounds or too many people talking at once. Why? Because Zachary has something called overactive senses, or sensory processing disorder, and when too many things were happening at once he experienced sensory overload.

When she asks questions, she wants the answers in detail.

What is a sensory processing disorder? This is when someone experiences trouble organizing all the information about all the different stimuli around them. Sometimes it feels like lights are flashing, everyone around you is yelling, people are poking you and you can't think straight. This can be very frustrating and lead to meltdowns to tune out all the overwhelming stimuli.

She wants the answers in detail because she knows other people are going to ask a lot of questions.

Why is your brother so quiet? Why doesn't he look at you when you talk to him? Why does he "flap" his hands back and forth and rub his eyes so often? Why does he always look like he is talking to himself? From a young age, I could answer all of these questions with ease and simple language.

When people ask me questions about my brother and his behavior, I willing to answer. There have been times, especially when my brother was really little, he would have a meltdown in the grocery store and people would yell at my mom to get her son under control. These are not the kind of people who seek to be understanding. Those who seek to be understanding to not stare and point, but ask questions to help them understand.

If you give a girl a brother with autism, she's going to become very protective.

When my family moved to Mexico City for two years, my brother was in middle school. We went to visit two schools to pick which one we wanted to attend once we moved there. The first school was tolerating and willing to help Zachary with his IEP and provide accommodations to the learning environment.

The second school took one look at my brother and told my parents, "We will take your daughters but not your son." The school that turned my brother away had a more rigorous curriculum and would have provided me with better opportunities after high school, but there was no way I was going to a different school than my little brother.

She is very protective because she cares.

Most big sisters are protective over their little brothers until a certain age. When Zach and I were young we didn't get along very well, but that never bothered me. I still would go to the ends of earth making sure my brother wasn't getting bullied at school and following up with his teachers making sure he was turning in his homework. Even my little sister, Danielle, who is younger than Zachary is protective of him.

If you give a girl a brother with autism, she will watch as he grows into the amazing person he is meant to become with beaming pride.

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