Life with Elliott

When I was a kindergarten student life was so much fun — finger painting, coloring, meeting new people to spread germs with. But, at home things were very different. Luckily, I had the job of the oldest child. Life is usually good for a little one with so much power.
Little did I know that soon, I would be hiding a secret that I would not reveal to anyone.
I remember the day that I was blessed with a baby brother. I also remember the day that changed my family’s life.
Elliott was diagnosed with autism, a common disorder. But, of course, this was before many people knew about the disorder. No one knew what was really wrong with him. We were just aware that he didn’t talk, had extreme allergies to certain foods and had unusual outbursts.
But in my little-girl eyes, my brother was always my little, chubby-cheeked companion.
Elliott now has a behavioral specialist named Karen who has has done so much in helping us get through life. He goes to York Learning Center, which is in the former Central York High School building. Amazingly, he loves school and strives to do his best there.
Although Elliott still doesn’t talk, we all know he understands. Just because he can’t respond doesn’t necessarily mean that he doesn’t comprehend. Someday, we know that he will be on the verge of normal. Because autism spectrum disorder is so widely known now, we are hoping Elliott will be able to live life as a normal person. The hardest part is everyone flocking to your house trying to help. Too many people have come into our home trying to help but end up making the situation worse.
Some people think that an older sibling would be left out of the family equation because the other child takes up the spotlight. I’ve never once thought that. I see Elliott as a blessing, not some kind of curse that someone decided to put on my family.
Kids with parents who have passed away understand my constant struggle with keeping Elliott’s disorder a secret. I don’t want people to think that I can’t handle teenage stress because of what I have to deal with at home. I am not ashamed of my brother’s disorder, but I didn’t think I would be able to deal with the “what’s wrong with him?” factor from my peers at school.
I am still a normal teenager I love to send text messages and update My Space. And even though my little brother isn’t like other little brothers, he still is and always will be my friend and companion.
— By MELANIE CRISAMORE, York Catholic High School

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