National Autism Awareness Month

Woman Shares What It's Like To Have 3 Brothers With Autism

"The spectrum is wide, and is represented perfectly under one roof in my home."

April is National Autism Awareness Month. To celebrate and bring awareness throughout the month, we will be highlighting positive stories we love about people with autism, as well as the stories of their friends and families. 

Twenty-six-year-old Ali Carbone took to Facebook last week to share what it was like to grow up with three brothers who have special needs. Michael, 24, Anthony, 18, and Luke, 16, all have autism

"Ten years ago, I would have had to explain to people what autism was when they'd meet Michael, Anthony and Luke," she wrote. "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."

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about one in 68 children in the United States have autism. The developmental disorder is characterized by communication challenges, difficulties with social interaction, and repetitive behaviors as well as by unique strengths and differences. It can present itself very differently in two different people — even if they're siblings. Carbone has seen this herself, growing up with her siblings. 

"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," she wrote. "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." 

While her brothers are differently-abled, Carbone says their condition isn't what defines them

"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," she wrote. "That is who they are."

Carbone's message, which she wrote as part of National Autism Awareness Month, about her brothers give people a clearer picture of what having a loved one with autism is like. She shared a photo of all four them dressed up and smiling. A photo she says is rare for her family. 

"Something so simple to you and your family is virtually impossible for mine," Carbone wrote. "This month, and every day 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." 

In an interview with POPSUGAR, Carbone shared that having three brothers with autism taught her compassion and how to be sensitive to others with special needs. 

"My brothers and autism have taught me everything I know to be true about life," she told the outlet. "Real life. How to live, how to treat people, how to think, and how to feel. 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."

(H/T: POPSUGAR

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