17 February 2011

A tale of two siblings.

My younger brother Jason is a three time gold medal winning bowler, abstract painter, heart breaker, pro spin jumper, avid potato chip eater, lover of hats, comedian, farm animal enthusiast, nonverbal, and has autism.

I came across this story yesterday. A girl who has severe autism and is non-verbal like Jason had a breakthrough one day and started typing on a laptop. Now she is able to communicate and express herself. She talks about being trapped in a body that doesn't allow her to talk like we do, but she is very intelligent and aware of what is going on around her.
After I watched the video about her, my heart was so full. I've always tried to talk to Jason like I would anyone else because we don't know how much he understands. We've had a lot of conversations when it was just me and him in the car. It was really encouraging to hear this girl's story and realize that my efforts were not done in vain. I cannot wait until the day that I can have a real conversation with Jason.

While we are making great strides in efforts to treat those of varied races and lifestyle choices with respect, there is a lot of prejudice and ignorance against people with mental and emotional disorders and disabilities. 
I do not think this is okay. 
People are naturally afraid of what they do not know, but I do not think that ignorance is a good excuse. 
For my BFA project (big final photo project that I work on until I graduate), I'm making collages of my photographs and Jason's paintings to try and show how he sees the world. Jason can't talk and his paintings are really his only commentary on the world. I want to show that his perspective of the world is different, but not less. We are all different, but not less.

On a slightly different note, this week has been pretty rough for me. 
These past couple of semesters have been pretty rough for me. 
Several times this week I contemplated quitting school, like I have thought about many times before. 
However, the one thing that is keeping me going is that I feel like I need to for Jason. I don't really know if my BFA will be that great, but I keep getting the distinct impression that I need to complete it for Jason. Watching that video of the autistic girl completely changed my week. I went from depressed to hopeful in less than ten minutes.
I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who is so aware of my needs that He blesses me with things before I even ask for them.


  1. I love Jason!I love you so much! you are such a wondeful sister and an amazing force in Jason's life. Your BFA project is going to be amazing and inspiring and beautiful! just like you!

  2. Amy, your BFA sounds like it is going to be really great. I really love you. You make my heart feel great and I'm real grateful for you :)

  3. I love you Amy! Jason loves you!
    Keep at it honey, you're in the home-stretch!
    xoxoxox, Mom

  4. wow amy this was so lovely and inspiring. I used to watch a child with autism and it was the most precious experience. communication was very different but it was there and it was simple and really beautiful. Your story gave me chills and I'm really interested in seeing your work because I think what your doing is amazing and definitely something that needs to be out there.