Autism Speaks

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Autism Speaks

I'd like to introduce you to my brother. Christopher Joseph, or CJ as my family calls him, is 14 years old, 5'7” in height, and very handsome. He has the most impeccable memory, although, it is very selective. He doesn't remember the last place where he placed his retainer, but he remembers every line from every Transformers movie and could describe in detail the characteristics and features of every autobot and decepticon in the series. He can also recall the models and features of just about any gun ranging from ordinary handguns to military grade assault rifles. Further, he can remember any and all facts about the Titanic ship and the sinking of the ship as well as all there is to know about it's sister ships, the Olympic and the Britannic. Doesn't he sound incredible? But most people don't agree. In fact, because his mind doesn't fit into societies version of “normal”, he's often bypassed and misunderstood. But what has lifted my heart and strengthened my soul was that although he is not seen as ordinary, this could only mean one thing. That he is extraordinary. Autistic, and extraordinary. Now, for you who may be unfamiliar with the word “autism”, it's a complex brain disorder that affects social communication, learning, and sometimes physical skills. It manifests in each individual differently. Across the world every 20 minutes one new person is diagnosed with autism. And although it's one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the world, there is no known cause or cure. I cannot remember the first time I encountered autism, but I cannot recall a day without it. I was just 3 years old when my younger brother came along and I was so excited that I'd have some new being in my life. After a few months went by, myself as well as the rest of my family soon realized he was different. He screamed a lot, he didn't want to play like the other young kids did, and in fact, he didn't seem very interested in me whatsoever. CJ lived and...
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