College Essay 3rd Draft

- Active voice verbs - - - - To be verbs - -

Thud, thud! “Mom! Dad! It’s Tuan...he has stopped breathing!” I screeched as a stream of tears swept over my now ashen face. I bent down looking at my nearly motionless brother, his face slowly turning a ghastly blue. Blood soaked his shadowy black hair and a splurge of blood came trickling out of his nose like a volcano erupting with lava. My stomach churned as my heart sank and my mind swirled. A second later, my sister and parents emerged at my side a look of horror on their faces.

Tuan, my oldest brother was my parent’s first-born child. Elated at his birth, they showered him with love and attention. But it only took a little while to reveal that their seemingly perfect baby boy had something very wrong with him. At age two, doctors diagnosed him with a special disorder, autism. Autism, a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, is a developmental disability, which impairs a person’s communication and social skills.

At age five, my parents settled my sister and I aside and informed us about Tuan’s condition, “Tuan isn’t like your other brothers, he’s special.” At such a young age, I could not comprehend the true meaning of what my father meant.

Today, at the age of 24 Tuan stands at a whimpering four feet, eleven inches with hands and feet the size of a 10 year old. His slightly obese frame of 170 pounds and short stature represent the typical size of an autistic person.

When recalling growing up with my brother, I think back to the 1988 classic, Rain Man. A story of a man, Charlie, who later finds he has an autistic brother, Raymond. I believe this movie very accurately portrays the typical responses a sibling may have and characteristic behaviors of an autistic person. Through the movie we witness the minimal patience and understanding given to Raymond, but through the conclusion we see the love and compassion that Charlie gains with the experiences he shares with his brother. This is a truly compelling story, which relates very closely to my feelings toward my brother as a child and my feelings towards him to this day.

As a child I never understood Tuan’s condition. I couldn’t understand autism and how it affected my brother. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t speak much or why he stayed in his room all the time. Many times, he would seem detached as if in his own special world. I just didn’t understand anything about my brother.

As I walked on the bus one morning, I heard older boys behind me making sniggering remarks to a girl in the front seat. As I walked by her I could see tears swell up in her light blue eyes. She quickly buried her face in her book as I stammered past her. Slowly, I found a seat near the back of the bus. A kids making fun of him? Does he get upset? Why would he deserve to be teased I never said anything to that girl. Everyday I’d see her get teased and everyday I would walk by looking the other way.

Years went by and the relationship with my brother stayed stagnant. When friends came over and asked what was wrong with my brother I’d shift around the question uneasily and say “he’s autistic” quite blandly and explain “which means he can’t act or communicate properly.” Then I’d changed the subject quickly to escape from the uncomfortable feeling I felt. In the years when it was so vital to be accepted and to be thought of as normal I had felt a sense of embarrassment towards him. It ailed me to know I loved him but felt that way about him. But feelings are feelings and that was the way I felt. But as I grew older, I grew wiser and I developed a love that was so deep for my brother.

One afternoon as I got off the bus and started walking home, I heard a girl making fun of the handicapped boy down the street. I felt a sense of boldness come over