Meet Bailey D.
Bailey D., 20
To say that I’m proud of her would not be enough. I want the world to be able to know more about my best friend, who also happens to be my sister.
My name is Jaylan D. and I’m 22 years old. My sister, Bailey, is 20 and is on the autism spectrum.
She is truly unique in every sense of the word. She’s grown so much throughout her life and overcome so many obstacles, all with a smile on her face. Her going from being nonverbal to now being able to communicate her wants and needs is something that will always amaze me. To say that I’m proud of her would not be enough. I want the world to be able to know more about my best friend, who also happens to be my sister.
Bailey loves listening to music and watching TV. Her favorite artists are Drake and Chris Brown, so we’ll often listen to their music together. It’s something that keeps our bond strong and makes us smile. We also like to shop, and Bailey likes to organize her clothes to make fun fashion designs, which shows just how much of a creative thinker she is. We spend a lot of time together as a family, so she also loves to watch our mom cook and watch me play basketball.
I reached out to Autism Speaks to share my sister’s story because I want the world to see just how smart, fun and beautiful she is. I also hope to share a sibling’s point of view on autism and provide a perspective that others might be able to relate to. If talking about my amazing sister and sharing her story with the world can inspire just one other person or provide a sense of understanding, then it’s a win-win.
Learn more about Bailey’s story through the words of her sister Jaylan in this Q&A:
Can you share the moment when you first learned about autism?
I didn’t quite know what autism was or that Bailey was autistic when we were younger, but when I got older, I’d say around age 16, is when I started understanding it a little bit better. But even then, I really didn’t think much about it because it was just part of my life. I just thought kids with autism don’t quite understand things as other people would. Obviously, I’ve learned so much more about autism on a much deeper level in recent years as my sister and I have grown up together.
How does Bailey’s autism make her unique?
I think many people have different views on what makes a person with autism unique, but I just know that my sister makes everyone around her laugh and smile simply by being herself. I think she’s unique in her sense of style and her kindness towards everyone she comes across.
What advice do you have for other siblings and family members of a person with autism?
Some advice I would give others is to just be as patient and considerate of their feelings as possible. Autistic kids and adults have feelings too, so try to let them express their concerns or thoughts in whatever ways work best for them. Reading body language and learning to listen with your eyes rather than just your ears is something I’ve become very good at.
How can we create a better world for people with autism and other disabilities?
I will say that we can make a better world for people with disabilities by simply listening. Try to better understand one another regardless of the situation because you never know what people may be going through. Even if you can’t see a disability, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
What is your connection to Autism Speaks? How has the organization impacted your life?
Autism Speaks has given countless people and families the opportunity to share their stories. This not only raises awareness for autism but helps people like my family feel like we are understood and heard. I have a special place in my heart for children and adults with disabilities, and I know Autism Speaks feels the same. I have also used some of the Autism Speaks Tool Kits to better understand and communicate with my sister, which has helped a lot! I’m very grateful for all they do.
What do you hope the future holds for Bailey?
I hope for a bright future for my sister, and that she can do and be whatever she wants. I hope she always knows that she is loved and supported by her family and that she can always communicate to tell us how she’s feeling.
What are the five words that best describe your sister?
I’d say the five words that describe my sister are beautiful, kind, caring, unique and smart.