More than once Liam has freaked out in public. Thrashing and kicking, screaming and biting; it seems like it will never end. I can tell horror stories about the looks we’ve gotten in the past.
My brother is fourteen years old and has autism. Although it is more public than it was in the pas, people still aren’t one hundred percent sure of its meaning. I’ll spare the monotonous definition and be straight- it’s a mental disorder that affects communication skills.
People these days are so quick to judge. We’ve all done it; the guy who likes math, the kid who likes throwing around the football, the girl who wears a little too much black. I get that it’s an easy thing to do, but it’s still not right.
Because no one really knows what autism is or how it affects people, they don’t recognize when it’s right before their eyes. I’ve seen the disapproving looks my parents get when Liam screams; I can tell exactly what’s going through their heads: they think my mom and dad are bad parents. The truth is, they don’t want to dig down deeper, they don’t want to acknowledge when their wrong. People want to think what they think is right and there is no other way of seeing the world.
You know that old cliché: to walk a mile in a person’s shoes? I would do anything to walk in my brothers shoes. To know what he’s thinking, to know what I can do to help, would be the best thing that could ever happen to me.
But I can’t walk in Liam’s shoes; I don’t know what he’s thinking. And that’s the mystery of autism, that’s why I have to settle with looking at things from all different perspectives, making myself see things differently than I want to. I hope one day I get to be right, I hope one day I’ll know exactly what he’s thinking and know exactly what I can do to help.
I believe that people will change one day; that they won’t be so judgmental and they’ll accept everyone for who they are. I believe the critical looks will fade, slowly but surely, until they turn into reassuring smiles. I believe I will love Liam for the rest of my life and beyond, and I believe the world will too…once they give him a chance.