The time my nonverbal brother spoke to come to my rescue
By Jasmyn Wright | April 10, 2020
Jasmyn Wright is the CEO & Founder of The Push Through Organization – a non-profit. Her brother Julian has autism. To find out more about Jasmyn and her work visit www.wepushthrough.org. And follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
Julian and I’s bond started ever since we were toddlers. The very first memory that pops into my brain was when our grandpop bought Julian a small, yellow tricycle. At that time, Julian was only 4-5 years old and partially nonverbal.
He communicated more through affection and behaviors than with words.
I used to take Julian outside during the summer to learn how to ride his new toy. He struggled a bit, and I remember staying out there with him, helping him hold on to the handlebars with one hand, while using my other hand to instruct him how to turn the pedals with his feet. I was only 7 years old and in the third grade. We practiced riding his bike every day that summer.
One time, I had Julian switch places with me on the bike, so that I could model and show him how to properly pedal and control the handlebars. Being too big for the tricycle, I fell off, which resulted in a bloody scrape on my knee. Right then and there, a group of older children walked by and began to point fingers and laugh at us. I thought they were ultimately laughing at my brother, and instantly grew into full protective mode. Before I could even respond to them, Julian immediately knelt down beside me, staring at me with complete concern in his eyes and said, “Jasmyn. Stay right there. I take care of you. Be right back.” He ran, as fast as he could, a couple of feet to our house and came back a few moments later with a crumbled, wet paper towel. The group of children were still there, pointing and laughing, and I held my head down in embarrassment of my bloody-kneed situation. Julian, still paying them no mind, focusing solely on making sure I was ok, began gently patting my knee, making sure that he was careful. He didn’t want to hurt me. When he was done, he asked me with tears in his eyes, “Are you ok? You feel better? I help you.”
Julian, who’ve I’ve always known to be mostly nonverbal…barely spoke unless he asked for something he wanted... in this moment, made the protective decision to step outside of his own comfort-zone, and challenged himself to check on my well-being.
Teary-eyed even right now writing this blog, I must say that it was at that moment I realized that Julian and I were going to be inseparable. Julian and I both share an older brother, Everett, and we are all very close. However, everyone knew that there something special and unique about the #JasmynAndJulian bond.
Fast forward more than two decades later, our relationship grew even stronger. Julian isn’t just my brother…he’s one of my closest friends!
He calls me every day, on his flip phone (he’s big on routine, and refuses to keep up with the 21st century), just to have a 20-minute conversation about the same thing we’ve talk about for the past 10 years. He talks about family, Disney movies, what he wants us to do on the weekend, past experiences we’ve had while out, people he’s met, his old friends from school, etc. Anything that pops in his brain, he’ll say it. He’s my hangout partner. He’s my dance partner. He’s my laugh partner. He’s my long-distance car-ride passenger. He’s my beach buddy. He’s my advocate. He’s my second biggest supporter (our mama comes first). ANY body who knows me, KNOWS HIM! We are almost always together.
Just like “normal” brothers and sisters, we argue…frequently! He doesn’t hesitate to tell me no, or “cuz I don’t feel like it.” He can be a bit stubborn and wants his way. (My mom and dad had 3 of us, and we are all pretty stubborn. Maybe we get it from our parents? Yea, I blame them!) There have even been a few times when I’m out on business, leading workshops and keynotes, and strangers have come up to me and said, “Where’s your brother, Julian? He didn’t come with you this time?” I usually giggle and ask them, “How do you know about Julian?” They reply, “You post him all of the time. I love his spirit. I was hoping to meet him today!”
I’ve never met a spirit such as J’s. His energy lights up any room he walks into. No longer nonverbal, Julian will talk your ear OFF! He’s an extreme people person, who isn’t afraid to walk up to you, introduce himself, and hold a conversation. His laugh is contagious.
If you show kindness to him, as simple as a smile and “hello”, he will remember you FOREVER!
Like, literally! Julian still asks me about people he remembers from when he was only 3 years old…people I have to pause and really dig deep in my memory to see who he’s referencing.
Julian’s still the same. He doesn’t care about what other people think about him. He’s a great judge of character and spirit, and he’s just as equally protective of me as I am of him. J sees people for who they are, and not what they do. I couldn’t ask for any other younger brother. Happy National Sibling Day!