Stock Photo - Original Photographer Unidentified
Okay, so Flickr has turned to shit, photos that should be shareable are not, not even my own. I guess I’ll be reblogging mostly now? I’ll try to find more things.
Himbeer Cappuccino Torte (see source!)
This Sunday, April 6th, my school will be participating in a walk for Autism Speaks. As part of the walk, we will try to raise $1,000 in the next week. My walk will be in honor of my brother, Michael, and everything he’s achieved in his 19 years.
A bit of background on me and Michael:
We were born about two years from each other. I never understood he was different, my parents would always say that I’d play with him even if it was a day that he would not respond, that I’d stuff his crib with stuffed animals when he cried (I was three, I didn’t know what else to do!), and most nights, stay with him in his crib because “he’s cold.” He did not say his first words until he was three, which was a response to my question— which until then had been answered by him pointing at what he wanted— “Michael, what movie do you want to watch?” His response was the movie that remained his favorite until even today. “Dumbo!”
It didn’t occur to me until a few years ago how strange it was that of all movies we owned, this movie, a movie about someone who realized they were different, was told by everyone that we would never be the same as them, yet persevered to do the impossible just to show that he was good enough. It is something we have never talked about, but I think it is that reason that he felt it was his favorite— he was Dumbo, and I was his Timothy.
Over the years, Michael realized he was very good with computers, and so did my family. To encourage his ability, we gave him his own laptop and external harddrive. Today, he owns his own YouTube account with a few hundred suscribers, and dozens of Disney Crossover videos that have had millions of hits. He makes no profit on any of the videos, but has had his account taken down by Youtube several times for copyright problems. When he makes a new account, his friends (many of which also have autism) welcome him back and beg him to make videos for them.
Michael’s life hasn’t always been so happy though.
When we were in high school, him in 10th grade, and I a senior, I found out that the ‘normal’ boys in one of his integrated classes were abusing him. They would take his books away, fart in front of him and push him around. When I confronted his teacher about this, she wasconfused. “But he’s always laughing, so I thought he was okay with that kind of playing.” How could a trained professional that has been briefed on his history not know that Michael laughs when he’s nervous, and when he says ‘stop it,’ he actually means it? It took two months of fighting the administration of the school, daily refusing to send him to that classroom, and some heavy lawsuit threats, but the boys (who by the way, had been doing the same to the other special needs children and called them retards in front of the teachers with no punishment) were finally expelled.
Last year, my brother walked at his high school graduation. Michael, who stayed up studying the basics because he wanted to be seen as normal, not as someone to pity. Michael, who cooks his special puree every day because he wants to be independent. My mother, who can barely walk anymore, was able to stand up and applaud when he received his diploma and shook hands with the principal. I had never seen him so happy.
With our target of $1,000, I’m hoping we can give another child that opportunity, the one that Michael had. A high school diploma may not mean a lot to some, but to someone with autism, and to their family, it can mean the world.
Even if you’re unable to donate today, you can still reblog and spread the word!
PS: I’m an accounting major, so this part is really cool: if you donate, and keep the receipt, you can actually deduct that on your taxes so you don’t have to pay as much, or you can increase your refund by a bit!
'Pearls' (Cake Balls) inside White Chocolate Oysters from Amy's Party Ideas
Buckets of Fun by QUOI Media on Flickr.Faded pastel buckets of fun; ferris wheel at the Rockton World's Fair, October 2010. Photo by M. Rehemtulla for QUOI Media Group.
Bought macarons for the first time today.
Blue and Pink Buds by Fall-Into-Your-Dream on DeviantArt