Growing up with autism presents a very unique set of challenges that the rest of society can often perceive as burdensome. Like many things we don’t understand, we are quick to stereotype ‘different’ as ‘bad,’ rather than seeing the beauty in what is what is perceived as imperfection.
But Ali Carbone, a woman who grew up with 3 brothers on the autism spectrum, is here to challenge society’s perspective by enlightening us with autism’s positive attributes.
“The spectrum is wide, and is represented perfectly under one roof in my home,” she wrote in a viral Facebook post. “No two Autistic people are alike, and for many, Autism is just the beginning of the developmental and cognitive disorders they will have to deal with throughout their lives.”
The proud sister went on to explain a few of the traits that make each of her siblings special in his own way:
“My oldest brother is non-verbal, blind and epileptic. My middle brother is verbal, social and suffers from severe OCD. My youngest is mildly verbal and hyperactive. These traits though, they don’t define them at all. Michael lives for a good Disney movie throwback, and would be content with giving hugs and kisses all day, everyday. Anthony quite literally thinks he’s Michael Jackson and will destroy you in any performance related competition. Luke loves to run and hang outside, and will take every opportunity to mess with his oldest brother. That is who they are.”
“For some reason, I always felt like having the boys and this thing in our home gave me some kind of advantage in life,” she told Love What Matters. “As a kid, I already understood compassion and could instantly tell if another kid around me was disabled or autistic, and I’d treat them with kindness.”
Ali says even at such a young age, she can recall her experiences with autism shaping her life purpose.
“Even back then I remember feeling like there was bigger meaning or purpose to my life,” she shared.
While her brothers may have struggles that many cannot identify with, it has made Ali a better person for it because she can empathize with people more readily, even if she doesn’t know what they’re specifically battling.
In fact, she says it’s taught her everything she knows to be ‘true about life’:
“My brothers, and autism, have taught me everything I know to be true about life. Real life. How to live, how to treat people, how to think and how to feel. Someone always has it worse than you. Always be kind because you never know what someone is going through at home. Is it really that hard to smile and not be a judgmental, unhappy person, when you have your 5 senses, the ability to love and live a full life? If people took more time to put themselves in other’s shoes, I think their perception of their own life and problems would change. That’s something I try to do every day. Even though I have all of this that goes on in my daily life, if a friend is sad or having a problem, I never discount it, and always try to put myself in their shoes and offer support.”
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Ali posted a heartwarming photo depicting the many beautiful faces of autism that color her home with smiles, laughter and quirks.
“Above is a rare picture of everyone dressed up smiling. Something so simple to you and your family is virtually impossible for mine. This month, and everyday going forward do your best to be kind. If you see a kid flapping their arms, don’t laugh. If you see an adult having a meltdown, don’t stare. If they go for a hug or high five, don’t shy away. A smile from a stranger can quite literally change our day.”
Share Ali’s inspiring message with your friends on Facebook to show support for Autism Awareness Month and shed light on the beautifully different souls who tell its story.