What’s Wrong With Nick? The Lifestyles of Living With Somebody With Autism

Life isn’t easy and life isn’t fair, it’s what you do with it that makes it worth living.

 

When I was younger, my brother was just my brother. I didn’t see him as disabled, on the spectrum nor autistic. He was just my older brother, who loved having sword fights with spoons, re-watching and replaying every scene of Jumanji imaginable until he grew tired of it, and wore his shirt inside out, backwards, forwards until he used every side possible before he finally put a clean one on. It wasn’t until I began to grow up that I realized my brother is not like me nor my parents, nor my other brother, nor my friends. Nick was different.

Nick was autistic.

Now before you start gasping, autism is not contagious, it is not a disease, it’s not anything other than a disability. There are many forms of it. The many common ones are low functioning, mild functioning, high functioning and Asperger’s. Nick is considered high functioning. He can speak, knows how to use the bathroom, and knows how to use a computer as well as give your computer a virus at the same time. Nick can do anything, except live on his own and have a family.

Now, before when I said Nick can speak, yes, he can speak but he can’t a hold a conversation with you for more than five minutes. This is a typical conversation with my brother:

“Hey Nick!”

“Hi.”

“What’s up?”

“Fine, fine.”

“That’s good, how was program?”

“Fine, fine, where’s the iPad?”

“My day was great thanks.”

“Oh good! Where’s the iPad? What’s for dinner?”

“Food.”

“I hate food, how about sausages instead?”

autism classroomBelieve me, dealing with this for twenty years of my life hasn’t been easy at all. I can’t even imagine what my parents feel nor go through with stress. The reasons why I say this is because the conversation I listed is your average day, usually, with Nick. It’s normally funny, confusing, a lot of cursing on his end due to Youtube clips of ‘Ghetto Spongebob,’ and it’s very short and not very detailed.

However, it’s the bad days that make you think to yourself, how can I do this? How can I deal with this? How am I not in a mental ward right now?

These thoughts are pretty often in my household, mainly because you can’t predict a bad day. A bad day for Nick is having his computer time cut short at school, not eating, being moved into a different group, being touched on the arm by somebody bigger than you…the list goes on. His program tries to warn us about when he’s having a bad day to at least prepare us for the tidal wave that’s about to commence but really they don’t do a good job of it. Of course though when my mom calls to see what happened that’s when they suddenly remember, ‘oh right, he has a family at home, probably should have warned them.’ Well thanks for doing your job you should be promoted.

A bad day usually consists of him telling everyone not to talk to him. Then, he’s yelling at everyone. Followed by him destroying his room. Leading to him running down the stairs and locking himself inside the garage. Finally, finishing with him REALZING the door is locked and we are the only ones who can set him free. Soon after we get him out, he apologizes to everybody and wants the iPad and falls asleep in his room.

Obviously there are terribly bad days and good bad days. With him being 24 now going on 25, we have obviously been through it all. Lately, knock on wood, the only worry we have is keeping him up to speed with his medicine and making sure he doesn’t kill my boyfriend without me looking. Oh yea, I’m still two years old in his eyes, my oldest brother is nine, and my parents are in their twenties. Obviously, my parents don’t mind their suggested age to much.

To get back to living with Nick it’s basically just like an ongoing movie. He’s what I call a scriptor. What a scriptor in my definition is somebody who recites movies by heart. Nick does this twenty-four seven! It can even be pretty cool to listen to sometimes.

If he messes up a line he literally rewinds himself and makes a re-winding noise and starts over from the last scene. He’s gone as far to recite the introduction songs to the Jetsons, Popeye, Flinstones, and many other 80’s-90’s TV shows.

autism-ribbonTo put it in simpler terms, Nick is a twenty four year old adult male who will always be a kid at heart. Unfortunately, we can’t turn the clocks back, we can’t build a time machine like he wants, and we can’t stop time. Nick is still playing sword fights with spoons, reciting his favorite lines from his favorite movies, and he still re-watches his favorite scenes to his favorite movies (which his favorite movie changes everyday). Nicholas has autism, he’s on the spectrum, and he’s high functioning.

Nick is my big brother and I’d rather go another hundred years with good days, good-bad days, bad days, terrible days, and scripting than to be without him for one second. This is my personal lifestyle for living with somebody with autism.

Also, just a little piece of information: Thursday, April 2nd it is Autism Awareness day! For those of you who either know somebody with autism, have a family member with autism, or just want to help for the heck of it, here’s what you can do: wear blue! Autism Awareness day is also known as Light It Up Blue day! So please, if you remember, wear blue and spread the word.

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