As soon as we get into the car, he grabs my iPod and eagerly searches for his favorite song. “I Like to Move It” from the Madagascar soundtrack begins to thump through the speakers and Adam turns to me saying “I can’t resist the urge to dance to this song, the beat is just so good, you know what I mean?” I respond and begin to sing along with the song. He doesn’t really dance until he thinks I’m not paying attention, but the smile on his face lets me know he’s genuinely enjoying himself.
His world is atypical, but it doesn’t keep him from having a normal life. He has challenges and has trouble grasping some concepts, but the important ones he understands. When I am asked about Adam, my answer is that he is in fact the perfect brother. Chronologically he’s my big brother, but developmentally I get to be his big sister. We hardly ever fight, and he loves me unconditionally. I don’t know anyone else who is as lucky as I am.
Adam has Asperger Syndrome, which is a type of high-functioning autism. Along with AS, he also has Attention Deficit Disorder and epilepsy. Growing up with Adam has made me the person that I am. I didn’t realize until recently that not many people have the patience, kindness, and calm demeanor that I do. However, when I did realize this, I became very thankful that Adam has helped me become the person I am. I believe that the effect Adam has had on me can only be considered a positive one.
Many people struggle when they have siblings who have special needs because they can’t accept their differences. I am open to these differences, not only in Adam but in anyone, because my parents always made sure I knew that Adam was special, but that he should never really be treated differently. I will always see him as my big brother, with whom I shared dinosaurs, pretended to be a Power Ranger, and fought in the car about which movie we would watch first.
Adam will always be a big part of my life, and I know that wherever I go I will carry part of him with me. It’s weird thinking that I will be going away while he maintains the same schedule, and life will move on without me at home. Although I will enjoy moving on and being away, it’s the little things about Adam that I will miss the most. I will miss our dancing in my car and his looking at me during movies to make sure I’m enjoying it. But the thing I will miss most is his genuine smile. When he smiles, his eyes light up and I feel like I can see into his soul.
Ally Reed wrote this essay for her college applications.