Hey guys – Tiff here! I have a younger brother named TJ – He is pretty awesome! I thought I was an only child till I was 9 years old and then BOOM – Tj was born! I was so excited to have a brother that I could play , share experiences with and talk too. Then BOOM – the doctors told us something was “wrong” with my brother. At my age, I did not understand much of what was going on but I did know that something was not right. They told my parents and I that TJ might not make it, and that he had very serious brain damage. Along with the news that he was not going to be able to walk, sit, talk or feed himself, they told my parents to invest in a wheelchair for him. We were devastated to say the least. I mean, I thought I was going to have a brother that would be considered “normal.” But what really is “normal?” I will get into that later.
“They told my parents and I that TJ might not make it…”
TJ did make it however he was born with Autism. When he was finally able to come home after being in the hospital for a couple months, it was up to my parents and I to ensure that TJ could do all the things the doctors said he would not be able to do. I was determined to teach my brother how to sit properly as you see in the picture below. It is amazing what some boxes and determination can do! Every day we would have a small session where he would have to sit up. He did not like it but after a while he became adjusted lol. We also put him in the walker everyday as well and overtime, TJ was walking all over the place on his own!
It was truly a miracle that my brother could sit and let alone walk – God is good 🙏 However, he still was not able to talk and still cannot till this day. School has taught him sign language as a way for my brother to communicate with us, which has been super helpful. Even though Tj still cannot communicate verbally, I have not given up and hope that one day he will be able to speak. I will give anything to just have a conversation with my brother. Ok ok, enough of the bad stuff. Let’s focus on the positive – he’s actually very smart, probably smarter than me! I am serious, this guy does some extraordinary things and will make you laugh in a heartbeat 😂
“I will give anything to just have a conversation with my brother…”
But back to the whole “normal” term that the doctors and society likes to use. First off, being normal is so BORING! I mean, who wants to be like everyone else. Why not be different? Unique is the term that I like to use for TJ. Just because he does not fit the guidelines of what many find “normal” in this world does not mean he is weird, or whatever you want to call it. Many people are born with disabilities and get bullied or criticized for it. YOU CANNOT CONTROL WHAT YOU ARE BORN WITH AND HOW YOU ARE BORN! I remember growing up, my mom, brother and I would go to the grocery store every Saturday. I loved the grocery store because of the free cookie I would get – lol. However TJ hated the grocery store and decided to act up every time we went 😂 Because he had autism, sometimes he may have acted out a bit much and made noises that were very loud. What bothered me was the amount of stares we would get from people that knew he was not, yet again, what society considers “normal.”
“Many people are born with disabilities and get bullied or criticized for it. YOU CANNOT CONTROL WHAT YOU ARE BORN WITH AND HOW YOU ARE BORN!“
My brother inspires me every single day to go harder and to keep going, because he kept going is still is. “They” said he was not going to make it but yet he is here alive today – if that is not a testimony, I don’t know what is. I realized over the years that I am TJ’s voice and it is my job to ensure that he is respected and more than anything – HEARD! All of my accomplishments stem back to his story. If he made it, if he learned to walk and is still learning to take care of himself, there is absolutely no excuse to why I cannot achieve something. One day, I will be able to have that verbal conversation with my brother and tell him just like I did when we were younger – “your sister got you and I will never leave you.” I AM YOUR VOICE 🗣
Autism Speaks Inc. is the largest autism advocacy organization in the United States.
Check out their website below on resources and information on how to donate to the cause! God Bless 🙏 https://www.autismspeaks.org/