I can remember being little and knowing that my life was different. I had a little sister who wasnt like other little sisters. I also remember asking my mama “how do I tell people about Rae Rae?” “Nobody knows what Autism is.” To which my mama replied “Tell them to imagine their brains like a radios, our radio play music that comes in clear, Rae Rae’s radio is static.” I knew from a young age that some higher power made her my sister to that I would become educated in the world of Autism. I was given Rachel to learn Compassion, Empathy, Patience and unconditional love.
Rachel was born on June 4th. Even though we are 18 months apart and I don’t remember her being born, I remember thinking she was the prettier sister. My mama knew that something wasnt quite right when Rachel was about 6 months old. There was no eye contact during nursing. She cried when people tried to hold her and usually the first few months of a baby’s life they find their voice, She did not. My mom began seeking answers from doctor after doctor. They all said “She’s a late bloomer, she will be fine, she needs more time…” That didn’t work for my mama. When Rachel was two years old they gave all my mothers concerns a name. Rachel had Autism. Websters Dictionary describes Autism as “A neurological disorder that delays all aspects of everyday life.” and come to find out she was also diagnosed with mild mental retardation. The doctor that diagnosed her said “she will never walk, or talk or eat. She wont be able to do anything.” That also was not an option and my mama got to work! She was placed in the best special needs preschool program that helped my mom get the tools she needed to help Rachel succeed. She met her future boss and angel Tommie, who helped our family learn the world of Autism. Rachel was placed in all the best special needs classes all over our county. With her school, my moms love and determination and me (a sister who knew mom needed help) she blossomed!
I remember her first word was “badoo” which was “blue”. My mom had our house covered in post its labeling the household and teaching Rachel to spell and know what each object was, what it did and how to say it. I remember when she became potty trained and we went to pizza to celebrate. I remember growing up we ALWAYS had movies on and they were what calmed her. The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Batman, Beetlejuice, Little Monsters and James and the Giant Peach were the go to’s. Everyday she learned more and more. she gained her own independence and voice.
Now at 25 she is a high school graduate, a client at a special day program twice a week, she is holding a job at an assisted living facility in the kitchen. she has empathy and the biggest heart. She loves to read, and still binge watches her favorite movies. She loves the shows Supernatural, Glee, New Girl, House and E.R. She is a health nut and exercises everyday without hesitation. She has a smile that lights up a room and a personality to match. She is the love of my life. She is my reason to push for success and she is my Best Friend. She is the MOST beautiful person I have ever met and I am lucky to have her as my sister.