The Stinger

Growing Up in a Special Family

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All families have their struggles but for some that struggle is everyday. I grew up in small Rockwall County, in a family of six. It was my older brother, me, then my two younger brothers. My two younger brothers were a complete surprise for my family, but little did we know we’d get another surprise soon after they were born. One of the twins was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, which is on the Autism spectrum, when was he was four years old. Ever since then our lives changed, our daily routines got more complicated and we all learned a lot on the way.

When he was younger, my brother Michael was going to play therapy pretty much every Saturday in Dallas. He went because children with Aspergers or Autism have some struggles creating friendships and relationships with others. There are even some sterotypes that all those diagnosed on the Autism spectrum are rude and don’t care about involving themselves in social situations. This however isn’t the case. If you’ve known anyone that is on the spectrum then would know that they are some of the sweetest and genuine people ever. So my brother attend therapy to learn how to play with kids, how to share toys and how to create a friendship.

Everything seemed to be going great until he got into middle school. He was bullied to the point where he started to digress in all his progress he made from therapy sessions. He wouldn’t talk to us as often, he started to seclude himself. He’d come to me sometimes and just be so hurt he’d be in tears. As soon as this started he began seeing a therapist, a psychiatrist, and a neurologist. He would get his medication changed constantly, from being on an anti-depressent to being on no medication.

From my eyes this hurt me to see my brother having to go through all of this because of bullying. Now my brother doesn’t have any physical disabilties, and of course no one would bully someone that does. But since Michael has a disability that affects his brain, people just assume he’s this weird kid. He has his quirks just like everyone else but that doesn’t mean he should be bullied for it.

During my junior year I was involved with the Best Buddies program at my school and still am. In March we did a Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. This was a movement to try to get the word Retard out of everyone’s vocabulary. In school I hear this word being used too often. Its thrown around as a derogetory term, people use it to describe their friends’ action. But in reality they’re offending all those that struggle, love and care for someone with a disability.

I’ve even heard many people describing their friends as acting Autistic or looking Autistic. First I like to say that no one can look Autistic. Like i stated previously Autism affects the brain, not physical features. Secondldy, this is very offensive and should never be used as an adjective for someone’s actions. I’d like to see a change in everyone’s vocabulary, and if you hear some using people’s disabilties as a derogatory term then correct them. This isn’t something that should taken lightly. The children, adults and all those with a disabilty are defenseless and they shouldn’t be used as a descriptor.

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About the Writer
Gabi Dennis, Managing Editor

Gabriela Dennis is a senior at RHS, she is the Managing and News Editor for The Stinger. This is her fourth year on staff. Gabriela has been doing journalism since middle school and plans to continue into college. She was also the 2016-2017 Stinger Sweetheart along with fellow editor Catherine Coronado.

In her free time, Gabriela enjoys writing and drawing. She is also the vice president of the Best Buddies chapter at RHS.

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