Read her call to action in honor of National Autism Awareness Month.
One 26-year-old woman’s World Autism Awareness Day message has gone viral, with thousands of people applauding her sentiments about growing up with her three beloved, special-needs brothers.
Michael, Anthony, and Luke all have autism, and Ali Carbone credits them with helping her learn true compassion.
“Ten years ago, I would have had to explain to people what autism was when they’d meet Michael, Anthony and Luke,” she captioned a photo of herself surrounded by her brothers. “The spectrum is wide, and is represented perfectly under one roof in my home. No two autistic people are alike, and for many, autism is just the beginning of the developmental and cognitive disorders they will have to deal with throughout their lives.”
Carbone's post was shared on Facebook and Instagram, and within four days, it went viral on Facebook with nearly 3,000 reactions and more than 1,000 shares. Judging by those numbers, her insight and emotion certainly tugged heartstrings.
“What a wonderful family! Your parents should be very proud of all of you, and you of them,” one respondent said.
“I have two older brothers,” commented another. “My eldest has epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and OCD. The next brother above me has autism. I can’t tell you how nice it is to know someone is going through something similar to me. Thank you for being amazing.”
Carbone's point—that her brothers are defined by so much more than their specific conditions—truly resonated with readers. She went on to explain each brother's likes and dislikes as well as their personality traits.
“Michael lives for a good Disney movie throwback, and would be content with giving hugs and kisses all day, everyday,” she said. “Anthony quite literally thinks he’s Michael Jackson and will destroy you in any performance related competition. Luke loves to run and hang outside, and will take every opportunity to mess with his oldest brother. That is who they are.”
While the siblings look happy in the photo, Carbone made it clear that this was not a typical moment in her life. “Something so simple to you and your family is virtually impossible for mine,” she said, prompting her to issue her call to action.
“This month, and everyday going forward do your best to be kind. If you see a kid flapping their arms, don’t laugh. If you see an adult having a meltdown, don’t stare. If they go for a hug or high five, don’t shy away. A smile from a stranger can quite literally change our day.”