A Sister's Love
By Sophie Spiegel, NYU Student in Psychology, Daughter of Different Roads President Julie Azuma
My sister, Miranda, was diagnosed with autism at the age of six. Throughout most of my childhood, I was overcome with fear, anger, and resentment. I was embarrassed to be out in public with Miranda because a tantrum was inevitable. I vividly recall peoples' judgmental eyes as this ten-year-old girl tossed herself on the ground for no reason. I never expected her to sneak up behind me and smack me in the face and I did not understand why she wanted to hurt me or embarrass me in public. It took me years before I understood what it meant to have a sister on the autism spectrum and today I honestly still do not know everything. I learned to accept it was not her fault and it still is not her fault, but it is simply just who she is. She is an energetic and funny person who I am pleased to call my sister. Miranda's disability is one of the motivating factors that led me to pursue my career in psychology.
The experience of having an autistic sister has taught me so much. Being the younger sister and helping your older sister reveals a sense of accomplishment because autistic or not, it rarely happens that the younger sibling has helped the older one. Miranda has also taught me to love unconditionally despite the differences we have. If there is something that I am most proud of, it is that she is my sister. When Miranda smiles, I know not to ever be ashamed or embarrassed about her. I love her regardless of what anyone thinks or says. I would not be the same person I am today if it were not for my sister. It took me a long time to realize what an influence Miranda has had on me and I am grateful for her everyday.