Editor’s Note: In the following article, Lincoln County’s Will Miller shares his perspective of his brother, Zane, who is autistic. Their story is the second in a series being published by The Times this month in recognition of April being Autism Awareness Month.
special to the times
Being a brother to an autistic person like Zane is, different to say the least. It has had its ups and downs, pros and cons, etc. It has provided its own challenges that we all — all meaning my family — learn from.
When we were younger (this being personal accounts of my parents: I remember crayons and that’s just about it), my brother and I were absolutely inseparable. But at some points we would argue, as best as two 6-year-olds could, which could include yelling or even the occasional thrown crayon. As we grew older, arguments of course became more verbal than physical (mostly). Although, the signs of his autism still showed.
Now, let me put forth that my brother is quite lucky. He got the long end of the stick because his autism case is on the high-functioning end. Growing up, Zane always had an affinity for art of all kinds (that didn’t take extreme physical activity). He drew, created, modeled with clay, and played with Legos constantly!
His love for art always seemed like a simple hobby or sport for him to me. But now that we’ve grown older, I realize his passion for the arts, history and learning in general was all his way of expressing himself. Zane never has been very good with words, when they were his own. He recites historical facts and quotes knowledge like a native language. His memory for science and the arts is incredible. Only recently did I realize that I could learn quite a lot from him.
Now to the less fun part. Throughout the years my brother has had certain ticks and habits that would come and go, most of which were quite a detriment to me personally (not to say I don’t love him; I know you’re reading this, Zane). These issues made life with him quite difficult at times. He could become temperamental and occasionally struck out. I’ll repeat; however, he is still a brother I love and cherish, and I understand it’s not his fault.
Next on the long list of things about my brother, would be the happiness. Autism, as most know, is not a curse of despondency. My brother, if you get to know him, is probably one of the most interesting people you’ll meet. He has an amazing sense of humor, an equally amazing imagination, and even more amazing personality. Zane and I talk for hours upon hours about history or jokes, and he always seems to know what to say next. He is my brother. He is my twin. He is my best friend. He is my hero.