By Sky Palencia, 5-3

Having a younger brother with autism is complicated. I love him a lot, but he can get annoying like any younger brother.  He doesn’t do this stuff to mock me, he has autism so he has reasons why.  He doesn’t understand that there are rules, but I like that he shows his opinion by not listening to me. Another reason why is because he doesn’t understand that “NO” means “NO”.

Having a younger brother with autism is complicated because he doesn’t understand that there are rules.  He screams at the top of his lungs no matter where he is or what he is doing. Like one day I was trying to do my homework in my room and he came in yelling about Power Rangers and jumping around.  I asked him to please stop, but he didn’t, he just kept on screaming. “Sol, please be quiet and play Power Rangers in your room. I’m busy doing my homework!”  I had to yell at him so he could hear me. “No, I’m playing Power Rangers, now leave!!!” He wasn’t listening to me or following the rule that my room is my space, especially when I’m doing my homework.  Another example is he will go up to strangers and start talking to them.  Once we were in a restaurant in Manhattan when a lady sat in front of us. “HEY!” Sol yelled across to her and her friend. Then he started “stimming”.  Stimming is really him yelling sounds like “AAAHHH!!” or “BOOMSCH!!” while shaking a spoon or anything he can find in front of his face. (ANNOYING!) The lady just sat there confused with a crazy 6 year-old yelling to her.  That day he had ignored two rules. 1. Don’t talk to strangers, and 2. Don’t yell in a restaurant. Sol doesn’t always understand that there are rules you have to follow.  It can get annoying, but it’s just who he is.

Having a younger brother with autism is complicated, but sometimes I like that he shows his opinion by not listening to me.  One example of this is that he will say no when I ask him to do something for me.  Like one day I was on the couch in the living room of my house and my younger brother Sol was playing with his toys near my paints.  I had the paper and brushes laid out in front of me and all I needed was the paint.  “Sol can you pass me my paints? You are next to them.” My brother screamed “NO! NO! NO!” Then he ran away from the paints with his toys.  Well he certainly wasn’t listening to me, but he showed his opinion very clearly, which is he doesn’t like to help me with stuff I can do on my own.  Another example is that when he asks me to play with him and I say no he is not happy and he will argue with me.  Once he wanted me to watch a cartoon on the computer with him, but I said no because I was doing my homework.  “Sky watch the Pink Panther with me!” I waited to see if he would come to my room, but he didn’t answer so I answered, “Sol I can’t because I am busy.” His voice shot back at me before I could finish, “No, you are not busy, you are watching Pink Panther with me NOW!!!” (I couldn’t say no after that.) Again, he wasn’t listening to me but he was telling me what his opinion was. The opinion this time was he likes to spend time with me.  He also has an opinion on going places that he doesn’t want to go.   One day we were going to go to the dentist for me, but of course being Sol he though we were going for him.  He had a simple solution to this problem. He just wouldn’t go.  When we tried to get him in the car, he wouldn’t get in.  My mom had to carry a thrashing and screaming 6 year-old into his seat.  He wasn’t listening to anyone and his opinion was that he really dislikes going to the dentist, even when it’s not for him.  My brother Sol has an opinion on almost everything.  He might like or not like something, either way he is my little brother and I love that he can show his opinion all by himself.

Having a younger brother with autism is complicated because he doesn’t understand that “No” means “No”.  Like sometimes he will eat what you told him not to eat if he really likes it.  Once I had a bowl of cereal out and Sol came over and tried to take it from the table in front of me. “No Sol, that cereal is mine, give it back to me please.” Sol put the bowl back on the table and left to his room. I smiled that he had listened to me, or so I thought.  I left my cereal unguarded to get some juice. My mom and dad were in the kitchen making waffles, eggs for me, and I think they made eggs for themselves too.  I was starving so I had gotten myself the cereal.  When I came back with my juice and my cereal was gone!” I stomped into Sol’s room and sure enough he was eating it. “Sol, that’s my cereal” I said, “No” he answered with a smile. He certainly did not understand “No” means “No” that time. Another example is that he will continue to play with his toys even after you tell him it’s time to put them away. One day I was reading one of my thousands of books when my mom said “Sky we are going to go eat some Chinese food, can you put shoes on?” She then left the room to tell Sol. I did what I was told and waited for my mom and dad to tell me it was time to go.  I was hungry so I ran to the living room to ask what was taking so long. My mom was talking to Sol. “No Sol, put your toys so we can go to the restaurant.” My brother shook his head and said “No, I take toys to restaurant.” Again Sol didn’t understand that when my mom said “no” it meant “no.” It can get annoying when he does that. Another example is that he will touch something after you tell him not to touch it.  One time I had just gotten a new box of crayons and I was looking at the names of the colors, Sol came in and he tried to take my crayons and I said “Sol, no please don’t take my crayons without asking me.” He answered me “Ahhh! I want crayons!” Then he grabbed my 24 pack of crayons and ran to his room to color with them. I was sad but it gave another reason how he doesn’t always understand that “no” means “no”. He might not always understand that “no” means “no” but he is my younger brother and I will have to live with him for a while so I decided to make that a quality I love about him.

I have noticed that having a younger brother with autism is very complicated. It is complicated because he doesn’t like to follow the rules, he really has strong opinons on a lot of things, and that is definitely one of them. Sometimes he doesn’t listen to you when you tell him, “No” or that he he is not allowed to do something.  He has a lot of things he isn’t allowed to eat or do, like he can’t eat dairy and he can’t go outside and run around by himself.  I have also realized that while having a younger brother with autism you can’t have a short temper. You also have to be very patient with him because he doesn’t do the things he does to annoy you. He has autism, so some of the things he does he has to do in order to get the sensory input he needs.  Also, he doesn’t know how to communicate with the rest of the world the same way we do but that just makes him more unique and special.  Even more importantly, it makes me more proud to call him my younger brother no matter how complicated life gets with him because it shows me that he is trying.

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