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Non and Luke 

Every cookie cutter family wants and wishes their children to grow up smart and healthy. Those children will go to a great university, land a great job and become great parents of their own and wish the same for their children to come. However, that dream comes to an end when a child is born and diagnosed with a mental disorder or disability. The parents’ attention is fully given to this child to make sure they can live as much of a normal life as possible, that the other children in the family are left behind or forgotten.

Coming from a family where I am the youngest of three older brothers I know the feeling of being forgotten. However, the feeling of being forgotten and pushed to the side was more effective since my brother Luke was diagnosed with Autism at age two. As my other older brothers were able to know life without him and have their childhood like all the other kids at school, my childhood was different as I was born after Luke. There is truth that I was spoiled by family members and at times my parents for being the only girl but there was a feeling deeper inside that I didn’t understand until much later in life.

Luke is high on the Autism spectrum as he is nonverbal, needs 24 hour care, and has the mental capacity of a five year old child. He makes noises as a form of communication, claps his hand loudly in excitement, and rocking himself is a way of calming down. However, when he would have a tantrum and make himself fall down on the ground while out in public, where I would feel an embarrassment while others stared at us.  For the longest time I felt embarrassed having Luke as a brother that there would other challenges I went through growing up. Nothing was worse than being discriminated against and bullied because of my brother being different.

 

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