Sister of the Year

By Riley Kinum May 4, 2021
Sister of a boy with autism makes a helpful video for his future classmates. 

Elli Van Bree is a fifth grader at Elm Grove Elementary School in Texas. Her little brother, Willem, who is in first grade, will be joining her at the public school next year. Willem has autism and in honor of Autism Acceptance Month, Elli decided to film a video for Willem’s future classmates. She was worried about him starting at a new school and so she made a video telling Elm Grove Elementary how great Willem is and how to interact with him.

She began by explaining that Willem is a little different, but his differences make him special. She described how Willem uses a tablet to communicate because he cannot speak and how sometimes he gets very excited so he will clap or flap his arms. She also explained that sometimes he gets overwhelmed by new people and loud noises because his ears and eyes are extra sensitive. She also talked about how he is similar to everyone else: he loves to read, cuddle, and hike.

In addition, she supplied a list of things to do to make someone with autism feel loved and accepted. 

1. Smile and say “hi”
2. Don’t be offended if he/she doesn’t want to do the same things as you 3. Be patient
4. Be kind

The video will be aired during Elm Grove’s school announcements and it has also gone viral on facebook after Elli’s mom posted it. Elli ends her video by emphasizing, “Overall, he’s a kid like you and me…and I hope you love him as much as I do.” After watching this video, I think it’s safe to say that Willem’s fellow students will love him very much.