One morning I mentioned to Katie that I was interviewing our parents for an upcoming blog post. “I like being interviewed,” she said. I asked “Are you trying to ask me to interview you?” and she said “Yes.”
When I said I needed to think of a topic, she suggested autism. So let’s hear the voice of a sister and girlfriend to autistic people.
Katie says some positive things about autism. As you read this, I don’t want you to write it off as a product of an incredibly sweet personality—she knows multiple autistic people, so she has real personal experience. And if you’re autistic, she’s talking about you.
Let’s hear what she has to say.
Katie, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Katie. I’d like to say hi. I have a sister. Her name is Luna. She’s autistic.
Please tell me in your own words: What is autism?
Autism is special. It makes people happy. Take care of your health. Take care of yourself… People with autism is awesome and fun and learning new things. If you have autism, you are talented.
When people are different, you have different personalities. Having autism sister is awesome and nice to hang out with.
How do you feel about autism?
I feel happy, proud, and lots of fun.
Her boyfriend’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.
Your current boyfriend, Troy*, is autistic. How does autism make him different?
Some people are special. It’s nice to have it. It’s so exciting about your life.
I’m happy for him to have autism. Also, he has ADHD. Sometimes he gets hyper. That is how I like him.
What do you and Troy like to do together?
We can chat, laugh, and be silly. We sat down for lunch, and we sat next to each other, and I feel happy when he sits next to me. After school, we holding hands. At the bus, we hugged.
Do you help Troy sometimes? Does he help you?
I love to help him. Opening door for him, say sweet things about him, be careful with feelings, make him feel welcome.
He wants to carry stuff for me and open the door for me. He has my permission to sit next to his friends. I was okay with it.
If somebody is dating an autistic person, what should they know?
They will feel happy… (talks to self, thinking hard) They should know to be helpful and to be kind to each other and help them out.
Katie’s sister (i.e., me)
I’m your autistic sister. How does autism make me different?
It makes you different because people like to stim. They [Luna] get excited to see sister came home from school. The face look different. Also, use pigtails to make you cute! (laughs) I love to see autism person who likes to smile a lot.
Well, that is me.
What do you like to do with me?
Watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Go Wal-mart. [We did that today.] Go for a walk around the neighborhood. And getting Halloween pants! [Also today]
Do you help me sometimes? Do I help you?
I love to help my sister Luna. If my sister needs help, I will help her. If my sister can’t reach, I will get it for her. I like to give her her purse and headphones when she needs it. [Katie held some of my things during the trip]
When my sister got confused, I have to say it again so she can understand me. She can help me with my Fitbit. (whispers to self, fidgets) That’s it.
If somebody has an autistic sibling, what should they know?
They should know you are special, you are different, you are awesome. I was happy to have an autism sister. Having autism sister makes me laugh.
What do you want everybody to know about autism?
Do not bully autism. Autism is a good thing! Take care of your health, try to get fruits and vegetables.
What do you want autistic people to know?
You can help each other. Try not to be mean to other people. I think having autism people is awesome… fun to be around… have a good life.
What else would you like to say to the internet?
(laughs in excitement) I love to have an autism sister, to make people happy. I was super happy to have autism sister! If you have autism, you are special person, you have a different face, and different shape of your body.*
*She’s thinking of Down syndrome for the body shape one.
Thank you so much, Katie!
You’re welcome! (grins at me)
I omitted long pauses and instances when I prompted her to continue talking. Katie and I re-read it together and she made some minor edits to her words. She drew this picture for the blog and selected a fake middle name (Perry) for herself.