Top 10 Things I Learned From My Autistic Brother


Lauren Valenzuela, Contributor


Since my brother doesn’t have the mind like a normal person, it takes him a while to understand certain things. For example, reading and writing were very difficult for him to learn and he is still learning to do them today. While me and my parents were teaching him to read, it took him years and it taught me to be patient and give him time to understand. Now he is able to read and write pretty well. 


My Brother, Robert, is as you know autistic. What this means for him is his brain doesn’t function normally like mine or other people. I learned to feel compassion because due to his autism, he isn’t able to go to college and live on his own or even drive. It made me compassionate because I can and will be able to do all of that, but he can’t which makes me feel bad. But also it made me want to help him as much I can as his sister so he can live the best possible life. 

Don’t Underestimate Someone 

Many people think just because someone has a disability means they can’t do anything, but that is simply not true. There are some things my brother is better at than I am. For instance, he plays Pacman and gets a high score, when I play it I can only get to the third level. This showed me to never underestimate someone. 

Pick Your Battles 

Learning to pick my battles is and was very important for me to learn;(especially with my brother). There are so many things I could argue and nitpick my brother on. Like when he says stupid or jerk, I’m not going to argue and tell him not to say that, but when he says like the f-word or something that could offend someone then I step in and tell him it’s wrong to say that. It’s better to not argue and battle over the things that aren’t as important or are useless worth fighting over. Instead, save it for something that will help you majorly in life or in this case, teach my brother proper manners so later in life, he won’t offend someone. 

Appreciate Small Victories  

Since my brother takes a while to comprehend certain tasks that to us seem mundane, its important to appreciate the small things that are accomplished. When my brother was younger, he would only eat certain foods, those foods being chicken, applesauce, and Cheez-its. When he started just trying food we celebrated those achievements and they made him want to strive for a bigger achievement. Now he eats everything. 


Since with my brother’s disability, I have to take care of him if my parents are working or something and in the future, when my parents die I will have to take responsibility for him. Due to the fact he can’t really be alone, it’s my job as his sister to take care of him. I’d rather do that anyway than have him go to some home and he gets abused or something. 

The Joy of Being Carefree 

My brother ever since I have known him has always been so happy and positive. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks or how he looks. I am a little envious of him but at the same time, he taught me not to care what anyone thinks about me and to just have a positive carefree attitude in life. If you carry a positive attitude and live without so many worries life will be easier and more joyous. 


Because my brother is a very talkative person since his autism is high functioning. Some days it’s ok but other days it gets annoying. Eventually, I had to learn to tolerate it because that is just how he is and I know I won’t and don’t want to change that about him. That’s what makes my brother, my brother.  

How to Console and Comfort Someone 

When my brother is upset he doesn’t express it normally. Since he can’t really say how he’s feeling, he hits an object and yells. Comforting him is something me and my parents could never figure out so we would just wait until he was in a better mood. But I figured a way to placate his moody episodes. I try to get his mind off what he was mad about by playing Uno or just giving him a hug in a calm manner.  

How to Love Unconditionally  

I learned to love my brother no matter what he does. There isn’t anything thing that could make me hate him and I’ve never felt such a strong feeling like that. He is so caring and affable to everyone he meets. He’s always smiling and finds the best in everyone. He has made my life more enjoyable and I don’t think anything will change how much I love and care for him.