Long Island native Ali Carbone attributes a lot of who she is to Michael, 24, Anthony, 18, and Luke, 16—her three little brothers who have autism. The now 26-year-old's deep levels of understanding ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) is all thanks to the beautiful uniqueness of each sibling she grew up with. In honor of Autism Awareness Day, Ali took to Facebook to tell her truth in a now-viral post that expresses the importance of compassion, and why the ASD community needs your help.
[iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebo…" width="500" height="718" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"][/iframe]
"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," Ali writes. "My oldest brother is non-verbal, blind and epileptic. My middle brother is verbal, social and suffers from severe OCD. My youngest is mildly verbal and hyperactive. These traits though, they don’t define them at all."
Ali continues by breaking down the incredible personalities of each brother, "Michael lives for a good Disney movie throwback and would be content with giving hugs and kisses all day, everyday. 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."
Along with telling her story, Ali wants to bring awareness to the lack of assistance the ASD community and their families receive.
“I also want people to take my post and think about the humans behind the diagnosis. Right now, there are limited housing options for adults with autism. A tough reality for many parents of autistic individuals is, 'Where will they end up when I die, will they be taken care of.' The worry never ends,” she explained. “You’d be surprised to hear that actual humans with brains and hearts and souls think that a group of autistic individuals living on their block or in their community will have a negative impact on their lives. It literally happens every day, and it’s happening now. You can read local new articles about the fights between a community and an agency about purchasing these homes and turning them into group homes.”
Ali hopes to encourage others to get involved with smaller non-profits, rather than big-name organizations such as Autism Speaks, whose funds aren’t always used to benefit their cause.
“I posted my message on April 2nd because unfortunately, April is the only month autism and the rising rates and 'awareness' are a major topic of discussion. A lot of people will change their profile pictures on Facebook to 'light it up blue.' Unfortunately, this furthers the agenda of Autism Speaks, a widely known non-profit,” Ali shares. “This organization has done a great job at branding and marketing autism awareness, but has failed at most of the things in their mission statement. A simple Google search will show you that Autism Speaks spends a majority of their money funding high-level executive salaries, instead of actual research and actual services and programs for actual children and adults with autism.”
For those who wish to know more, Ali recommends checking out Autismsociety.org, where you can locate your local affiliates and actually donate to local chapters that really fund services and activities for Autistic children and adults in your communities.