Many would assume that having three brothers born with autism would equate to a life filled with adversity.
But that’s not how Ali Carbone of Long Island, New York sees it at all.
In fact, she says having three brothers with autism has given her an “advantage in life,” according to Love What Matters.
“My brothers and autism have taught me everything I know to be true about life. Real life. How to live, how to treat people, how to think, and how to feel,” Ali told PopSugar. “Someone always has it worse than you. Stay positive and remember that we’ve made it this far, through all these heartaches — we still can find happiness and love.”
She says that her brothers, Michael, 24, Anthony, 18, and Luke, 16, have taught her compassion and kindness.
“As a kid, I already understood compassion and could instantly tell if another child around me was disabled or autistic. I’d treat them with kindness instead of laughing at them like some of the other kids my age,” Ali told PopSugar. “Even back then I just remember feeling like there was bigger meaning or purpose to my life.”
Ali took to Facebook to help people see the people behind the diagnosis and the issues that affect them in a post for World Autism Awareness Day that went viral.
“I remember being 12 years old thinking: ‘What am I gonna do when my parents are gone. How am I gonna take care of the boys?’ Now, that was just me in my head as a young kid trying to deal with this stuff,” she says.
“[But] I also want people to take my post and think about the humans behind the diagnosis. Right now, there are limited housing options adults with autism. A tough reality for many parents of autistic individuals is, ‘Where will they end up when I die? Will they be taken care of?’ The worry never ends.”
Here’s what she wrote in her post:
“On April 3rd 1994, Autism was born into mine and my parents lives. It would happen again on July 27th 1999, and again on August 2nd 2001. Ten years ago, I would have had to explain to people what Autism was when they’d meet Michael, Anthony and Luke. Today it’s likely that you’ve known, loved or lived with a child or adult with Autism.
The spectrum is wide, and is represented perfectly under one roof in my home. No two Autistic people are alike, and for many, Autism is just the beginning of the developmental and cognitive disorders they will have to deal with throughout their lives. My oldest brother is non-verbal, blind and epileptic. My middle brother is verbal, social and suffers from severe OCD. My youngest is mildly verbal and hyperactive.”
Ali went on to explain that despite the seriousness of their conditions, they are much more than those conditions.
“These traits though, they don’t define them at all. Michael lives for a good Disney movie throwback, and would be content with giving hugs and kisses all day, everyday. Anthony quite literally thinks he’s Michael Jackson and will destroy you in any performance related competition. Luke loves to run and hang outside, and will take every opportunity to mess with his oldest brother. That is who they are.”
She goes on to beg others to have the same compassion for those with autism that she has learned to have by growing up with her brothers.
“Above is a rare picture of everyone dressed up smiling. Something so simple to you and your family is virtually impossible for mine,” she says. “This month, and everyday going forward do your best to be kind. If you see a kid flapping their arms, don’t laugh. If you see an adult having a meltdown, don’t stare. If they go for a hug or high five, don’t shy away. A smile from a stranger can quite literally change our day.”
Check out Ali’s original post below:
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