Last month, Sophie Camilleri took to Facebook to share a note her 6-year-old daughter Lex had written.
At first glance, it might have appeared to be your typical cute kid note — the kind we share or see our friends share often. Sometimes we give it a like, other times we keep scrolling.
But in Camilleri’s case, the note she shared went viral — and with good reason. To date, it’s earned over 26,000 likes, more than 1,500 comments, and has been shared a whopping 30,000 plus times. And now, Camilleri’s main hope is that by going viral, her daughter’s note will help raise awareness for its simple, yet important message.
“On Monday I felt very sad because a girl in my class said that my brother was weird,” wrote Lex. “My brother has autism and is not weird. I would like it if we could learn about all disabilities in schools so that everybody understands that some people are different but we should all be treated the same.”
Yep; those are some pretty wise — and very sobering — words literally out of the mouth a child. It’s no wonder then that 6-year-old Lex was elected to her school’s student council just weeks before writing the note in defense of her 9-year-old brother, Frank.
According to their mother, the siblings are inseparable.
“[Lex] may be his younger sister but she always looks out for him.” Sophie Camilleri said. “The fact is, she has lived and breathed autism for the first six years of her life. Ultimately, she was taken aback by the lack of understanding.”
I totally get that. Raising a kid with autism has its challenges — but I’d have to say one of the biggest of all is seeing how other people — both children and adults — react to my own son, Norrin. It’s the “lack of understanding” that always baffles me. People are often quick to judge rather than take time to understand.
While autism is considered an “invisible” disability, there’s no denying the visibility of it. In many ways, my son is like many 10-year-old boys, but ultimately my kid is different. The older my son gets, the more visible the difference.
Norrin doesn’t notice when people stare or kids laugh. To my knowledge, he doesn’t know that he’s different. If I’m lucky, he never will. But I notice. And I realize he will probably be known in the neighborhood as the “weird kid.”
I’m okay with the things that make him different. He’s a quirky kid and I think he’s pretty cool. He shouldn’t have to change to make others feel more comfortable.
Everyone is different; no one looks the same. So why should everyone act the same? Being different doesn’t make you less-than, just as being different shouldn’t make you “weird.”
We all deserve to be treated the same — with kindness, compassion and respect. Norrin doesn’t have a sibling, but if he did, I’d for sure want him to have a sibling like Lex. We need more kids like Lex in this world.