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Comic 277 - Raising Awareness

3rd Apr 2012, 3:47 AM
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Be Sure to visit the all-new Store
3rd Apr 2012, 3:47 AM
J2383
Field photo by F3rd4

Autism information

I posted this a few years ago on a forum I tend to frequent in response to a young man telling a similar tale about his own brother. I thought I'd chronicle my post for future reference and for the enjoyment of others

I originally opened this post expecting a TL:DR moment, but as soon as I saw you mention your 16yo brother playing with Thomas the Tank Engine, I knew what was coming and had to continue reading.

As someone who has an autistic brother, I'd like to say that I understand completely what you're feeling. I could talk all day about the various psychosis caused in families by having an autistic child in the house. For me, I tend to isolate my family life from everything else in my life; to the degree that in the past 10 years I've never let anyone know where I live. I actually recently drove an hour away from my home because a friend from work was trying to follow me home, simply because I wouldn't tell her where I live. There was the time when he was 4 or so, and I took him to the grocery store to pick up some things for our mom. He was having a meltdown, and I tried to pick him up to put him in the shopping cart. Once I had him in my arms he started head-butting me in the face; he cracked 2 of my teeth.

Then there was the more recent trip into our local Goodwill where he was looking at the toys and found a Thomas the Tank Engine train he wanted me to buy him. One of the other kids about his age started teasing him about playing with baby toys. And that kid's mother told me that I should teach my 'son' what toys are appropriate for his age group. My initial reaction should have been to walk away; I instead told her maybe she should worry more about her son teasing my and growing up to be a bully, and then told her to fuck off and mind her own god damn business about what toys my brother wants to play with. Also, I had already explained to him that he couldn't get the train before the kid and the lady came up(it must have been a good day for him since he didn't throw a tantrum about it) and then I bought it just to spite her.

It's frustrating and it's sad, but ultimately I do my best to take everything in stride and realize that he often can't control himself. I don't know how severe on the autism spectrum your brother is, but an important thing to realize is that it's not necessarily selfishness that drives him; because selfishness is possible to him (and to many autistic people) a foreign concept. It's an emotion that he doesn't understand or truly feel in the same way you do. Yet, still his body's natural drives cause him to act that way, even though he isn't consciously trying to fuck you over. It's a combination of long running evolutionary advantages that a no longer needed, and him getting the short end of the genetics.

What I'm trying to say is simply this, there are up days and down days. You can't treat him nicely because you expect gratitude or kindness out of it. That's a horrible way to go through life, and will not make you many friends. However, I understand the things your feeling, and I often feel them myself. It sucks, but try to keep the vents to the internet; saying these things to your brother wouldn't help anything, and would probably upset the 'rents. Also, should you meet a nice young lady at Uni, I suggest waiting until things're mighty serious before you bring her home to meet the family.

So, yeah. Just my opinions and thoughts I had while reading your post. I know your pain brother.