Guest Blogger, Cameron Neustupa
I live on a long no outlet road by the name of Gayle Lane. I have spent roughly 7 years of my life on this road and it has taught me many things over the years, especially when it comes to my 6-year-old brother, Cody. Cody was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 in early 2014 and to be honest, it terrified my entire family.
It was on this same road where my Mom, Dad and I went for a walk and they told me about Cody’s diagnosis and how this could change our lives forever. There was even a point in time when we thought Cody may never be able to walk, talk, or do anything that a typical kid his age would do, but that’s when we hit the ground running to ensure we provided him with whatever therapy he needed.
Over the past 4 years, Cody has opened my eyes so much in helping me understand autism which in turn has given me a deeper respect for patience, kindness, and love towards others that I might not have realized before he was born. He has made me a much better person and I can truly say the past 7 years of my life have been the best years of my life. Watching him try new things, how hard he works while continuing to gain new accomplishments by the day definitely makes me his number 1 fan!
I wouldn’t change my brother or his autism for the world as he has done so many things over the past few years that have truly blown me away! It was on the same .6-mile road that he learned to walk for the first time, ride his scooter for the first time, and even learned how to ride a bike a lot sooner than I did!
I have grown so much as a person over the years as Cody has opened my eyes to the special needs community by allowing me to gain a greater understanding to his world of autism. I have been able to better advocate for individuals with special needs and have even become more approachable to my peers who may find themselves questioning what autism means and how it may impact others around them.
I am so proud of my brother and his developmental growth as I have learned so much from him and could have never asked for a better brother. I am so thankful for having parents that care so much about us and providing him with the help and therapy he needs. While I have already gained an abundant amount of knowledge about autism and the special needs community, this road will always have many meanings to me and I can’t wait to see the endless possibilities of where it takes us next. But with whatever it may bring, I promise he will make a big difference in this world one day.
Photographed and framed in my home of this same road.