A Sister Stands with Her Brother: I Am Heard, I Am Important, and I Am Included

Growing up Henry and I always had one another backs. We learned when growing up, to be each-others biggest supporters. We learned our differences were not negative. We learned to celebrate our differences, but to not let them define us. If I were ever wronged I knew I could always count on my family. They would be there to stand by my side and defend me. Just like I am doing with my brother.  I stand with him.

As you can imagine, not being able to communicate all of your thoughts, at all times, with the ones you love is hard. Although Henry is non-verbal, we have always been able to communicate . So much of communication is non-verbal, but you need to listen, watch and respect what the non-speaking  person is communicating.

Communication is everything. People underestimate you, and don’t get to know you if you cannot communicate the same way they do. It is not that people do not want to take the time to get to know you, it is that they just don’t know how. Sometimes I even feel like I am not doing the right thing when I meet someone new who communicates differently, and I have grown up with Henry.

Typing has changed everything for Henry. Typing has given Henry a way for his voice to be heard. He is able to show people who he is through typing. Everyone wants communication, for their voice to matter, and for their voice to be heard. Like Maggie Gyllenhaal said in The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism. ”We are all equal”.  This is completely true. Abilities may vary, but really we’re all the same. Unfortunately, people take those differences and variations and use them to separate themselves from others.

A common punishment growing up is being forced to stand in a corner in silence. No one enjoys this. It is a punishment. No one wants to be the excluded one, the one to stand alone in silence, the one left out of the conversation. No one wants to be forgotten. So why are some individuals treated this way?

Henry just wants to be included. He just wants to be as an equal in society. Luckily it just takes one person to stand up and include, and the rest will follow. Be that person, take a stand, make a difference. It may seem hard at the time, but don’t get discouraged. Do whatever it takes! Henry is.

School is one of the most important places to be included. During the school year it basically is your home. You spend more time at school during those 10 months than you do at home. School is a place where you hang out with your friends. School is a place where you meet friends. School is a place where you learn, experience, and grow.

Why won’t you let Henry in your classroom? He has every right as a human being to be there along with everyone else. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act granted equal rights to all people. In case you didn’t know, ALL MEANS ALL. Henry is part of that all so therefore he has the right to be in that school. This is 2012 people, this shouldn’t even be a concern anymore. This movement was started 49 years ago, way before Henry was even born! Why are people still fighting to have equal rights? This is just the beginning, change is going to come.

In the future, Inclusion will no longer be an issue, it will be a given.

It’s happening right now. Be apart of it, and spread the word. Inclusion.

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous October 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    My sister and will stand with you, because we have a 10 & 20 year old brothers with autism and have watched them suffer because they were excluded. My mom is suing the school system because of the trauma my brother endured 2 weeks ago because no one there understands autism.
    We are not unfamiliar with being advocates, we are survivors and have included our website. Check it out. Please to meet you. I am Carissa 17, a junior in high school and band major. My sister Christy is 16, a sophomore, and color guard. Ready to stand and fight for all to be included!!!

  2. Admin September 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Thank you Lisa! Your kids sound great . All of our voices are louder and stronger together!Thank you for writing a message!

  3. Lisa September 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    So beautifully put and thank you for sharing your family with us, what fantastic kids you are! We have two wonderful children, a daughter aged 10 and son aged 8, our son has autism, and attends primary school which has a special unit to give him some extra help.
    I worry sometimes that his big sister misses out or isn’t heard, she stands up for him and her friends at school. They are both amazing kids with so much to give, I wanted to let you all know that your voices are travelling and I am writing to you from Brisbane Australia. Keep making this difference, keep demanding these rights, and yes keep smiling xxx
    love lisa

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