My twin brother Jonathan has inspired me, in ways that I never expected. We were inseparable as we grew up. Then, he seemed to fall behind in many ways. At the age of five, he was diagnosed with autism. Instead of together, we were parallel. I watched him struggle with everyday activities. I saw him try and then fail to make friends, lacking the social skills that came naturally to most kids. At home he was always smiling talking and making me laugh. IN public, he was often silent, invisible, unable to show the world who he really was.
Jonathan has inspired me to make the most of my opportunities, to take nothing for granted, and to be sensitive to how I can make a difference for others. Even though he may never realize it, Jonathan is one of the reasons I have become me. My brother has been the spark making me think beyond myself, willing to face down mean-spirited peers, and trying to help those who have missed enjoying my opportunities through no fault of their own.
No matter what I go through, Jonathan gives me hope and strength. Watching him seek to overcome his disability inspires me to overcome roadblocks I see in my way. If he can try so hard to gain those simple things that are so easy for most of us, how can I be any less fearless? There is so much each of us can do to make positive changes in our society, especially helping those who cannot fully make their way by themselves. Watching my brother grow and accomplish things that were once only dreams, I hope to match his courage and add my own thoughts and sensitivity, to succeed in ways that will reflect well on both of us.