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My younger brother Jay is a typical, gangly 16 year old. A gangly 6 foot tall, he shares the same bright smile, blue eyes, and thick blonde hair that I have. Outwardly, he is a typical sophomore. Inwardly, Asperger’s Syndrome has delayed his motor development, impeded his speech, made social interactions a daily, challenging trial, and has made him frustrated by crowds, bright lights, and loud sounds.

Asperger’s Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum disorder. It is characterized by significant difficulties with social interaction, restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Asperger’s is from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of language capabilites (often delayed, like in by brother’s case) and cognitive development.
Since Jay was little, he has avoided eye contact, made rather odd faces and occasionally makes very odd postures, asked millions of questions about people and dates, and, of course, has attained an almost inhuman knowledge of trains. As long as I can remember, Thomas the Tank toys and covered the floor of his room, and quite often, every other room in the house. Magazines describing how to make model train layouts and large, hardcover books filled with photographs of trains have buried my Seventeens, Cosmopolitans, and textbooks.

I love my little brother dearly, even though his incessant questions and intense love of classic rock have often rattled my nerves. It breaks my heart when I realize that the chances are slim to none that he will ever go to college, get married, have a family, or become a train engineer, his dream as long as I can remember. Jay is the reason that I proudly support Autism Awareness.





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