A teenager’s feelings about her brother with autism

Brother-with-autism-from-NPRLast weekend I switched on National Public Radio and happen to catch the “Blood Is Thicker than Water” episode on a show called Re: sound. The show featured stories of families wrestling with love and loyalty, and one story, Except Me, was put together by a teenager who has a little brother with autism. The show set it up like this:

Andrew Skillings is 11 now, but he was first diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, when he was just two. Andrew’s challenges impact the whole family, especially his older sister Marissa, who struggles to find normalcy in a life that revolves around her disabled little brother.

From early on, Marissa Skilling’s feelings about her younger brother vacillated between love and hate. In her recorded essay, she acknowledges that some days she wanted to hug him, and other days she wanted to strangle him. Except Me is a very honest — and sweet — piece of work. If you missed hearing it last weekend, you can still hear this award-winning essay online.


 

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