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John's world

My brother means all the world to me. He's six and I'm ten, but really I'm like another Mum for him.

You're probably wondering why I want to write about my brother. After all, aren't they supposed to be a pain in the neck?

John, however, is just a tiny bit special. He is mentally handicapped because of a condition called Autism. But he's as sweet as pie; as cute as you can get. He's got beautiful green eyes that gleam when he gets excited, and soft, big black eyelashes. Dad calls them "girly eyelashes". He's got thick, curly golden locks of hair and he's slim and tall. He's still got his soft "baby skin", just like an angel, even though he's really a monkey!

I wish I looked like him. I have dark eyes, thin lashes and freckles on my nose. I've got nice hair but I'm really short for my age.

I'd be OK without the freckles, I think.

Everybody loves John because he looks so gorgeous. He finds lots of things difficult, so it's good that he's cuddly.

John will not always speak to people, although I can usually make him talk to me. He likes to run up and down the corridor at home, and makes weird noises while he does this, flapping his arms up and down. His face goes funny, too. His mouth turns into a big O, as if he's going to scream, and his eyes widen.

My friends wonder what's making the funny noises. It will be John, running and shouting. He goes up and down the hall like you used to see the bears do in the zoo.We used to get sad when he did that. We did not know how to make him stop. Even I can't make him stop when he does that. Then one day the doctors said that we shouldn't worry about him doing his running and flapping. They explained that this was the way that John relaxed.

Now I run with John sometimes. The doctor said that was a good idea because he was enjoying himself. It freaks the cat, though!

At Christmas, Mum, Dad and I went to see John in his school Christmas play.

They did The Little Fir Tree. John had some lines to say on his own, and he said them at the right time.

Best of all was his dancing. In the play, John was a Forest Creature. The forest creatures had to get on the stage and do a groovy dance. John loved it and he kept looking at us in the audience to check that we were watching him. John did lots of waving to us at the end of his dance, because he was very happy. His teacher wasn't happy though, because teachers never like it if you wave to your family when you're in the school show.

Sometimes it's hard having a handicapped brother. He gets up a lot at night and wakes us all up. We have to do things that he likes at weekends because he gets cross and bored if we go to the shops, which is what Mum and I like doing. He likes steam trains and we go on the Nene Valley Railway a lot.

Mum says it's hard on all of us, but we have to remember that the person it is hardest on is John. I don't really mind. I'm always going to look after my brother. He can have a house at the bottom of my garden when I'm grown up. I love him to bits. He says he loves me to bits too, even though when he's cross he says, "I don't like you TO BITS!"

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