Celebrating Sibling Connections – Our 2018 Contest Winners

June 30, 2018

Autism New Jersey held a Sibling Essay Contest asking what it is like to have a brother or sister with autism and how the differences between them are important. We are honored to share the stories of two very proud sisters:

Ryan’s Sister, Lindsey

4th Grade, Phillipsburg, NJ

Hi, my name is Lindsey. I have 4 brothers and one has nonverbal autism. It can be very hard but I love him anyways because he tries to keep on playing with me. We play chase and knock down the blocks. It is hard that he does not talk.

Sometimes I don’t get to do things I want to. I feel a little sad but I have to put him first. Ryan is very sweet, when I’m sad he tries to cheer me up by giving me a little hug and kiss. It makes me feel better.

Ryan is the best brother I could ask for. Thank you.

Eric’s Sister, Anna

11th Grade, Tinton Falls, NJ

A Letter to my Little Brother: Thank YOU for Teaching ME

Dear Eric:

I will always be protective. Sometimes I get angry at the world for being ignorant or at my friends for not being more compassionate. I get angry at the parents who stare when you jump at the aquarium when you see a seal. I know it’s because they don’t know or understand you. Today, they should know better. They need to open their eyes and really see you. All you care about is the seal. The smile across your face and the sparkle in your eyes ground me. It makes me realize that if you don’t care about others judging you, I shouldn’t. It’s hard for me to replicate that, but I’m working on it. Thank you for teaching me to live life and experience joy from some of the smallest moments.

Any struggles I feel when I’m around you are outshined by the beautiful, happy moments we have. It doesn’t matter how many times you flood my bathroom because you were acting out a Finding Nemo scene.The cleanliness of my bathroom is not as important as how happy it makes you when Nemo finally “escapes out into the ocean.” When you made it “rain” in our kitchen, I was concerned and Mom and Dad were angry for a second, but then you started giggling as you stood under the leak, proud of your creation. We forgot about the mess, and started giggling too. It was a simple moment that I will never forget. Thank you for teaching me not to sweat the small stuff.

We have a special connection but sometimes I struggle feeling sure you know I love you. I tell you a million times, but it’s never enough. I give you constant hugs, and it can annoy you, but I want to remind you of how special you are. Every so often you give me a glimpse that you understand. Like when you crawled into my bed at 4:00 am and cuddled up next to me and fell asleep. I’ll never be sure why you did that but for some reason you wanted my presence and protection. It’s a moment I think of often. Thanks for giving me little bits of love.

I am proud of the person I am, and I owe that to you. You have taught me more than I could ever teach you. You have taught me to focus on the little moments, and see the bigger picture. You have taught me to see the world in a new light and to see beyond someone’s abilities and diagnosis — and just see them as awesome. You have taught me compassion. Thank you for making every day a new adventure. Thank you for being my very best friend. I will always support you. I’m proud of you, and I love you. You make me a better person. In fact you make me, me! Thank you, buddy.

Love your big sister and biggest fan, Anna