I’m Nikki and 13. My sister goes to a Special Learning centre. As August is Autism Awareness Month, I would like to share a short story with you about my little sister.

At age four, Seanna was diagnosed to have autism. A condition no one can really explain. Some say it’s genetic, almost everyone we ever knew said it takes a little time, ‘she’ll snap out of it, you‘ll see’ and blah blah blah… She’s now eight years old and not so little.

She enjoys KFC’s mashed potato, nuggets, and sausages, ice-cream you get the idea. She also seems to have taken a liking to very spicy food, that’s curry chicken or fish. What! I can’t even handle Maggi laksa!

Every day her favourite TV shows, Shaun the Sheep and Mr. Bean The Animated Series comes on just before dinner and in between grunts from papa to go “makan”, she would keep one eye on the telly and bursting with fits of uncontrollable laughter, just like everyone I know. During this time we will never be able to find the Astro remote …!

After dinner, she would curl up in a corner of the living room sofa where she will proceed to colour and cut up my old story book pictures and paste them in other books, kind of personal collage or so it seemed at the time. We noticed one day that there were characters to these pictorial works that correspond to incidents, events that took place, places we visited, food we ate, people we met all noted down in the form of cuttings from books or magazines or caricatures in its simplest form before bed time! She’ll be giggling when she had to add an extra bulge to papa’s stick drawing tummy, maybe it’s the wrong profile ya. She has a diary and appears to record our daily goings on. The fact that she has yet to learn to speak in our tongue didn’t stop her from appreciating day to day happenings in her special way.

Time to time (weekends or so), mama and papa (MaPa) will allow her take a piece of drawing paper and paint with watered down water colours (extremely watered down!). Usually, inspired by Mr. Bean, she paints windmills and flowers in proper three dimension perspective quite like an architect will draw houses according to papa. By the way, did I mention she also likes to do arts and craft, hence, the cutting of my story books.  She brought back a lot of her art from school too.

Now, I just have one thing to say: “Patience is a virtue”.