As far back as I can remember, I grew up around my cousin Billy. Mom had to work, so my loving aunt babysat me. Billy became my play buddy, being only a few years younger than I. Of course, I did notice he was different; noticed that he had his quirks. But it made no difference to me. I was a child looking for a friend, and despite what others think, Billy was one of the best friends you could have. And it wasn’t until I was a little older that I began to understand Billy’s “disorder.”
I remember some kids making fun of him, which made me extremely angry. Why couldn’t they understand? It’s not his fault! Other kids would simply ask what was wrong with him. I found it difficult to explain exactly what autism was. So a couple years ago, when I was in seventh grade, I hung posters around the school in April for autism awareness month with facts and statistics about autism. It wasn’t much, but it caught peoples’ attention, and I was happy to see more people understanding and caring.
But this past year, someone wrote “Nobody cares!” on one of my posters. It discouraged me a bit, but made me determined to try harder. I will be entering high school this year and have made student council. I plan to use my spot in StuCo to do even more for autism. I want more people to understand how autism affects so many peoples’ lives. Because of the effect Billy has had on me, I want to make an impact in his life and others like him. I want to make a change for the better, because I DO care.