Teenager is second mom to brother with autism

Recently, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered featured a story written and recorded by a 17-year-old in New York who helps take care of her younger autistic brother.

Sara Martinez speaks English. Her parents, who are from Mexico, do not. As her family’s bridge to the English-speaking world, Sara takes on a lot of responsibility for her little brother.

She knows taking care of Diego has helped her grow up faster than her peers, and sometimes she feels she missed out on being just a regular teenager. As Sara says in her radio documentary, “When my mom was telling me her worries about Diego, inside I was like, ‘why are you telling me this? I’m just a kid — why should I have to worry too?’ But instead I just let my mom talk.”

Radio Rookies is a New York Public Radio initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their world.

The documentaries usually just air locally on WNYC, but National Public Radio found Sara’s piece so compelling that they chose to air it nationally.


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  1. Chris Says:

    Just curious, why is it the parents do not speak English?
    Clearly it’s in their interest to do so, particularly since they have a child in need of medical aid?

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