My Brother Has A Big Impact On Me And My Life

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Matthew Charchenko
In the early years of my life I had no idea that my brother would make such a big impact on me and my life. He has taught me more than any teacher possible could. Through him I learned how to be compassionate. I learned how to treat each and every person with respect, despite what challenges they may face. He brought me into an amazing community that taught me numerous life lessons. He challenged me every step of the way, like any brother should, and altered the way I viewed the world. My brother has autism, and he has been my greatest teacher.
In the early years I didn’t understand much of what was going on. I just thought that he was my twin brother, and like any twins at the time, I thought we were exactly alike. We played games together and roamed around our driveway on our bikes whenever he wanted to. Lots of times when I would want to play games he wouldn’t want to and would throw a tantrum. I didn’t think much of it and would just go to my sister and we would just play instead. I thought that was normal. I was under the impression that it was normal for kids like me to spend their whole afternoons in various waiting rooms for their sibling’s therapy. I didn 't understand that instead most people went and played sports or had play dates. By the age of 7 I began to realize that all of this was not the case.
One evening after dinner my parents told me that my brother had autism. At first they only really explained it to me
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