Ellie

“I don’t think many people know I’m a carer, but it’s definitely part of my identity. He’s my brother, but we are closer than just that. If you’d ask him who his friends are he’d say me. He’s like a brother, a son and a friend all in one.

I’m one of 4. It’s great having other siblings because when we are looking after Alfie and he’s being difficult, like throwing things, we laugh together about it, otherwise I think you’d cry. We went to one of these days for families, and I think we were expecting them to have siblings more on the extreme scale of autism like Alfie. But they’d say things like ‘they take my CDs and don’t return them’, and we were like yeah but did he ever poo in the bed?‘

I think having Alfie as a brother has shaped me and my politics. I think I’m more empathetic and less judgmental when I see people in the street. It used to really embarrass me when people stared at us, but my Mum told me just to stare right back. Obviously when we laugh at him as a family, it’s okay because it’s with love. But somehow, it’s not okay when other people do because he doesn’t understand and can’t defend himself. I remember one time when we were with Alfie in Starbucks and there was a young couple that were obviously laughing at him. When we left I went up to them said ‘Hi you were interested in my brother, he has autism’. Not in an unkind way, I just wanted to explain to them”