I wish my brother didn’t have autism
For his sixth birthday, Jude wished Charlie didn’t have autism. I shared a video of the moment, and though a majority of comments were positive, I got a handful of hateful comments. The truth is, I too, wish Charlie didn’t have autism. There, I said it. It’s not politically correct, but I know that many autistics, siblings, and caregivers feel this way too. And before you go there, wishing our children weren’t disabled is not related to the love we have for our children. It’s quite the opposite. It’s because of how much we love them, that we hurt for them — often with them. Why should I wish for Charlie the suffering and struggles inherently linked with his severe autism?
I’m familiar with some of his struggles because of my autism, but most are foreign to me. I can’t pretend to know what he’s going through just because we share a diagnosis. Autism is a broad spectrum. I’m level 1, and he’s level 3. Why would I wish for my son to not be able to communicate beyond basic needs? To not be able to talk? To be aggressive toward others and himself, often without a known reason? Why would I want him not to have a sense of danger? To not be able to live an independent life? This is what autism is like for Charlie, and many others.
Who would wish a severe disability on their child?
Would you want this for your child? For yourself? Of course not. Now think about it from Jude’s perspective. He turned six a few days ago. All he’s ever known is life with a brother who breaks his things, can’t really play with him, and cannot speak, often screaming and hitting him in its place. That’s our reality. Autism affects the entire family, and, well, maybe there could be some upsides, but they’re trapped in Charlie’s head because he can’t express them. You very well may not have been aware of this common reality of autism. This largely is not what the media shows you. It’s a lot less inspirational than “autistic 20-year-old graduates from Harvard.” But this is the reality of Autism for many families.
Don’t forget about severe autism
The loudest voices on social media forget the severe side of the autism community. They ignore those who need the most support and acceptance. They often forget both those who live with severe autism and their loved ones. We are the forgotten ones. Please, when you read a post from ActuallyAutistic on the internet, remember that they speak only from their perspective, the perspective of an autistic person who has the luxury to be able to advocate for themself.