My Special Needs Brother The story of how he functions, and how he functioned growing up.
Infancy As a baby, my little brother was such a cute little button. He was born at 28 weeks, which is amazingly premature. He didn’t have a fully developed brain due to his premature birth making him slow in many aspects. As a baby, he was always in the hospital sick. He had an compromised immune system, and very weak lungs that were very prone to respiratory diseases. Other than the immunocompromisation, he was seemingly like any other baby. Laughed, looked, and waddled around like a normal kid. He was the cutest baby I have ever seen, and not very many people could tell that he was “special”.
Childhood. As a child, (3-11) you could tell that he was slow and behind the other children his age. Most babies would pick up some things after being told once or twice. With my brother, he would have to be constantly reminded many basic functions when it came to learning. He couldn’t count, he couldn’t grasp many concepts such as money, counting, spelling, and some things socially. Socially, he could talk and interact, but he had a lot of basic questions for everyone such as “where do you live?, where is your dog?, what’s your favorite color?” he looked normal, but when he started asking those questions you could tell he was behind. Which is good and bad. Good because he is a handsome young man, but bad because people can’t tell he is special and can get pretty impatient before they notice.
Teenage Years (Current State) Currently, my brother is 15 years old. He is going through puberty, and he doesn’t quite know what is going on. He is interested in most things that normal boys his age are interested in (girls, sports, music, technology, playing Xbox). He can’t read, write, or do basic addition. He doesn’t even understand the concept of money. Academically he is very challenged. He is on a kindergarten level when it comes to school, but socially he is only a few years behind the other kids his age. This is sad because a lot of people assume that he is a normal kid, and treat him as such, but he doesn’t comprehend a lot of the things they are instructing and saying. This is frustrating for both him and the people he associates with. He has such an outgoing personality, and everyone loves associating with him. He even has a little girlfriend that is like him (challenged). Our goal as a family is to protect him from harm, but give him a somewhat normal childhood without him noticing how far behind he is.
What we (family) hope for the future. As a family, we hope that he can live as normal as anyone else his age, but realistically we all know that is not possible. Because he can’t count or comprehend money, he will probably never be able to hold a job that holds any type of importance. He has a hard time realizing what people need to do to survive so he will also probably never be able to live on his own. He is very healthy now considering how sick he was as a baby. He gets sick just as much as a perfectly healthy kid his age, and he never gets really ill when he does get sick. He gets over it very quickly which is surprising considering his immunocompromised history. We as a family are always helping him with even the most simple things he asks for, and we are very patient. He doesn’t ask all the simple questions he did when he was a kid, but he does ask a lot of questions. He has a hard time comprehending the world, and he asks us questions about all the stuff he doesn’t understand. He may be slow and not understand everything I would like him to, but I love him none the less.