Being Brandon's Sister

Common Application: Indicate a person who has had significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

Most big brothers can dish out advice and guide their younger siblings. My big brother is different. I can’t remember the specific time that the transition occurred, but at some point Brandon went from being my big brother to an autistic sibling in a young man’s body. Brandon was never able to guide me with words, but his disability has affected my life tremendously and, despite the challenges, for the better.

Before grade school I remember accompanying my mom and brother to his occupational and speech therapy appointments. It never crossed my mind that this was not normal. After entering grade school I began to realize there was something different about him. Kids made comments about him, and I began to live in his shadow. It didn’t matter what I did or how I acted; it always felt like I was his sister and people who didn’t know me simply expected that I was the same. Teachers at my elementary school knew me as Brandon’s younger sister. Subconsciously I became determined to beat out their prejudice and make a name for myself. I became active in various groups and dedicated myself to school at a young age. I credit much of my current drive to this childhood need to prove I wasn’t like Brandon.

I also developed unusual maturity...

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