Our Autism Story
When I was a child, I knew my brother was different. Trevor spent hours lining up toy cars into perfect rows instead of playing with other kids. He did not speak until he was three, and he could not produce a full sentence until he was seven. Trevor seemed to be in his own little world, but he and I were connected. Even though Trevor could not speak well, I always knew instinctively what he needed. Tuned to his emotional state, I was constantly on high alert regarding any environmental factors that might upset him. For as long as I can remember, I have been his helper and protector. When kids bullied him, I tried to explain, "He's special ed!", hoping they would have mercy. When he threw tantrums because he did not want to do his schoolwork, I duped him into a game of "tutor" instead. I helped him cover his ears when the sound of a fire truck was too loud for his sensitive ears. Life has always been challenging for Trevor. I seemed to have it all, but I had a brother who struggled.
Growing up with a brother who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) hasn't always been easy. But when life gets tough, my parents remind me to count my blessings. And there are many! Despite his challenges, Trevor graduated from high school in the top 50 percent of his class, and in May 2014, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Cloud State University with an A.S. in elective studies. Trevor is a pianist, an excellent public speaker, and an Eagle Scout, an honor that less than 4% of Boy Scouts receive. He is also a published children's book author. The first two books of his series, The Adventures of Charley McChooChoo, are available online! Check out his website, www.CharleyMcChooChoo.weebly.com, to learn more about Trevor and how to purchase his books.
Over time I have learned that Trevor’s differences are not all negative. The fact that he continually overcomes obstacles that most individuals never have to face makes him not just different, but extraordinary. He has beaten the odds because of his exceptional work ethic and perseverance. By sharing Trevor’s story and volunteering in my community, I aim to instill hope in those who live with autism every day.