I plan to study Neuroscience and go to medical school, hoping to work in genetic research to find out what triggers autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. My dream career would be to work at the UC-Davis MIND Institute, (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders), a collaborative research center. To better understand my passion, you need to know my story:
I remember the transition like it was yesterday, although it happened 12 years ago. His eyes changed from the bright blue of an ocean’s tide to the color of gray associated with decrepit prison walls. His contagious laughter vanished along with his angelic smile. He appeared locked away, and his regression was obvious, even to me his five-year-old brother. Scientists have not been able to find the key to unlock my brother from autism; throughout my life I have been chipping away at the walls that surround him.
Soon after, my brother started attending an organization called Have Dreams, (Helping Autistic Voices Emerge). I begged to volunteer as a social buddy until the Director agreed! Ten years later, I am still a social buddy. First and foremost, I have learned that everyone needs compassion, respect, and a sense that they belong.
Memories of Joe’s regression still haunt me, but in a good way. They are my strong motivator to live my life with a purpose, and with a strong desire to help those affected by autism. My brother has worked very hard too. After all, being brothers, we are more alike than different.