Katie* is a ten-year old rising fifth grader who lives with her mom, dad, and eight year-old sister Brooke*, who has autism. Oh, and their awesome dog, Winston. When the spirit moves her, she writes at www.diaryofakatie.wordpress.com.
* Not their real names. (Except the dog.)
Last night Brooke and I went camping. Sort of. We kinda set up the camping gear in my room, cause Mama didn’t want us outside. It was fun anyway. I put up my tent and Brooke slept in my teepee. Yes, we did bring a couple of pillows, stuffed animals and two sleeping bags and a TON of books. I think I might have emptied out Brooke’s whole book shelf! For me, I just brought a few long chapter books.
She got kind of upset last night cause I was sniffling and it makes her ears hurt. She said she was scared. I’m not sure if she was really scared. She might have been, but I think it was more that she was hurt and maybe a little angry. I wouldn’t say scared, but I guess it’s possible.
She doesn’t really understand the names of emotions.They get mixed up in her head and then she doesn’t know what to say so she just says scared. Like when I asked her how she felt when she was crying, she screamed “HAPPY!” And of course I don’t think that was the right answer. We practice with her and it helps a little, but sometimes it’s really frustrating when she screams that she’s happy with tears streaming down her face.
She finally calmed down and we went into our tents. We took all of the books out of the teepee and put them next to it. I think I kinda went overboard with the books. She might have been buried in there! I also put in, in case she finished the books – which was doubtful – a soccer ball, a toy car that I built, and three Barbie dolls. I left about two books in the tent in case she wanted to read before going to sleep. I did the same. I turned on my flashlight and opened my book.
I could hear next to me “MmmmMmmmmMMMmmmmmMMMmm” … the little stimmy noises that she makes. Soon I heard her softly singing, “Row your boat” I just smiled. Sometimes her noises and songs are pretty annoying, but this time I liked it. It made me feel calm. I curled up and fell asleep.
Someday I hope I get to go camping outside, cause the inside version was fun, but I’ll bet the outside version would be even more fun!
“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to email@example.com. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.