My Family is Not Your Joke

By Trevor Mick

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“Stop being so autistic!”

This is a common insult targeting someone’s differences. I hear it daily at my school, by people ignorant to the challenges autism presents.

Autism is not a joke. It’s a reality. People who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a disability with which 3.5 million Americans live, range from very high-functioning to non-verbal and confined to their home. A person with Asperger’s Syndrome, a part of the autism spectrum, is typically high-functioning, more observant and detail oriented.  

Our society has grown to see “different” as bad, therefore “different” people are often excluded. But “different” can be amazing.

Autistic students should be more accepted into society, specifically school, because it will benefit the student as well a the community surrounding them.

My older brother, Cameron, has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is kind and has his own lovable “quirks”. When we go to the zoo, he teaches us what the zoo doesn’t. I learned about the wingspan of an ostrich. I learned that lions only see in black and white. I learned to appreciate his presence and passion.

Cameron is also caring. When I am frustrated and masking my emotion, he will pick up on this and talk to me about my problem. Society needs people like my brother to influence their behavior.

Schools often decline admission to students with Asperger’s. That label keeps them out–but lets the jokes in. By separating students, they don’t learn how to interact with each other. Who’s a better teacher, whether at the zoo, or at school, then Cameron?

My brother sometimes says, “When I’m not given the same chances as other people, I feel like I have something bad, that there is something wrong with me, and that people don’t want to be around me.” He applied to a number of schools in different countries. That label kept him out, and lets the jokes in. Cameron now lives in a boarding school 15,000 km away from his family.

“Because I’m not given the same chances, I need to prove myself to society, so that I can be accepted” he shared with me. His whole life, all he has wanted was to be accepted like everyone else. Cameron said to me “I wish I was able to have the chances other people have, who don’t have autism, and don’t need to live with it like I do.” We should all want that.

How would you feel?

How would you feel if you were a teenager, with differences, trying to fit in, but struggling to understand and follow social norms? How would you feel if you had grown up living differently and constantly needing to control all of your impulses? How would you feel if upon encountering the major life event of entering high school, different rules applied to you because you have ASD?

We exclude what we don’t understand. Embrace people with autism and you just might learn something. This is my family, and this is not your joke.
Works Cited

  1. “Facts and Statistics.” Autism Society,

10 thoughts on “My Family is Not Your Joke

  1. Li-Kay Teng

    Wow. This was such an eye-opening piece — thank you for writing about this and showing readers the other side of the story that we never think about or have to go through. Well done, this was super powerful!!

  2. Tanmay G.

    This piece really made a personal connection with me since I know your brother. I think your use of a personal anecdote really helped it along and made the message so much stronger. This is definitely a message more people need to hear and I think its great that you took it up! Great job!

  3. Anqi

    Man! This is really amazing! This is super powerful and thank you for writing this piece to show others about other’s different story.

  4. Priyanka

    Trevor, you should be proud of this piece! It is so great that you wrote about something you are directly affected by. I loved the personal anecdotes you added throughout it. Thank you for sharing this with us. Awesome job 🙂

  5. nina

    Wow, Trevor, this was such a strong piece of writing. I love how you made your editorial personnel, it helps create a link with you and your reader. I really loved it and completely agree with the message you’re sending! beautiful.

  6. Bernie Williams

    Dear Trevor

    Thank you so much for sending your writing to me. It is a great piece of writing. Have you shared it with your brother as well? He will be so thrilled to know how much he means to you. You have opened lots of eyes to this dilemma especially in our community.
    Thank you, really well done Trevor.
    Love Mrs. W

  7. Ms. Turner

    Hi Trevor,

    This is such a beautifully written piece with such an important message. I had the pleasure of listening to a speaker recently, who was born with cerebral palsy, and as a child, he initially attended a segregated school for children with physical disabilities. He said something that has stuck with me – he has a right to be disabled (his words). Those who are ‘different’ from the norm simply help make humanity more diverse; they should not have to always adjust to our norms, we should learn how to adjust for them because like you said, there is a lot we can learn by embracing diversity. This piece speaks loudly for those ideals. Well done Trevor.

    Take Care,
    Ms. Turner

  8. Ms. Weber

    You should be so proud of this piece and of the effort you put forth to make it so powerful. It has had an incredible impact on all who have read it…which means you have mastered the editorial. Nice work.

  9. Ms Laws


    Your article gets me every time! Thank you for being an advocate for celebrating diversity and sharing your story. It is an important message for all to hear and be reminded again and again. Well done!

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