Reconciliation came from an Autism Diagnosis

Growing up, I knew I was different somehow. I didn’t really learn about Autism until I was like 8 or 9. Even then, I didn’t know what that meant. My Oldest Sister being my defender all those years back then. Katie was confronting a bully named Donny at the neighborhood pool and that’s when I heard her say “Do you even know what Autism is?”. My other older sister Andi on the other hand, she hated me growing up and I never really knew why. All I knew is most of her friends knew the way she treated me wasn’t right, including her best friend. As we grew, that didn’t change. Sometimes Katie had to defend me from our own sister. We moved from San Antonio, Texas to Windsor, California in April 2001. Two months later, she brought home her then boyfriend who’s been my brother ever since. Eventually things got better between her and I. What really turned things around between Andi and I was an Autism Diagnosis, and not my Autism Diagnosis. My Nephew’s Autism Diagnosis. After Logan was born, things were fine. When milestone began to get missed, Andi looked to our Mom, and even my Fiancé’s Mom who worked in Special Education for 20 years. When Autism began getting into the conversation, Andi went into denial, and became the nastiest she’d ever been towards me. I almost cut ties with her for it, but realized that was the worst thing I could do. Logan got diagnosed at Age 3 just as I did. His Diagnosis came in 2013 and mine in 1989. Once he began getting services in place, Andi became the sister I was long since hoping for over the course of our lifetime. Every year I fly from Charlotte to Oakland, renting a car to drive up into Sonoma County. We stay with my Mom in Cotati when we go. We are an Autism family, so when I drop my bags at my Mom’s, we go see Andi, her Husband, and Logan. My Brother In Law is an amazing Autism Dad to him, and an amazing Brother to me. Without him, I don’t think my relationship with my Sister would be what it now is. After Logan was diagnosed, I became aware that she was blaming herself and how she was towards me for all those years for Logan being diagnosed. He’s barely verbal, has behavior issues, and is big for a 9 year old. He will require services for the rest of his life most likely. When I found out she was blaming herself months after his diagnosis, I drafted up a letter to her and her husband. In it I told her she’s not to blame. We’re all older now, and we’ve both got a role to play for her son. She’s not in this alone. She’s got an amazing husband who’s an amazing Autism Dad. She’s got a Brother with Autism who’s got a lifetime of experiences, who will teach her anything she needs to know that our Mom can’t answer. Not only are we a large Irish extended family, not only are we from a Military Family, but we are also an Autism Family. Ever since I set the record straight with Andi, she’s known that we are in this as a family no matter what. Yes we face a challenge with my Nephew, but we’re all in on playing every hand that needs to be played. I was living in Las Vegas when he was born in 2010, and I’ve never lived close by to him. Thanks to my family, I’m still able to be there for him, in support of my Sister and her Husband. This is how Autism has changed us.
  • You cannot be certain it is Autism.
    I have been told that I have Asperger Syndrome or Mild Autism. One Psychologist said he does not know that I have Asperger Syndrome but he knows that I have a Non Verbal Learning Difficulty on the Right Side of my brain. I did fall out of a pram when I was a baby and I had a difficult birth. As well as some social skills problems I have difficulty recognising people connected to perception problems. One research Psychologist said there is no point testing me as my perception is so bad nothing to do with Autism . I am sure many people diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum are not Autistic but have other disabilities as I have. I might be on the Autistic spectrum as well. David Shamash London.
  • In reply to dshamash:

    It is Autism in his case and in mine. I was diagnosed repeatedly. 1989, 1994, 2002, and 2010. My nephew isn’t verbal beyond mostly repeating words spoken to him. It was my diagnosis that the needs I had as a kid that put my one Sister at odds with me and made the other one my defender. There is no question after 4 times as to what I have. I’m fine with it because it is my sole diagnosis. I was successful in having the ADHD Diagnosis reversed but getting the one for Autism reversed wasn’t successful. Three different US States plus Germany are where I got diagnosed. I’m fine with it and no longer care. However, there are some things even now that I do have to explain, but I don’t generally disclose Autism to those I work with. I ended that practice earlier this year due to a 3 year long situation that I’m still left cleaning up the mess from, resulting in my walking off my last job after 8 years with that company. Luckily I planned it out and left upon receiving a better job offer. It’s not often that we with Autism get a fair shake in a work environment.