CCSS

R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.7, W.2, SL.1, L.4

My Brother, My Hero

Olivia, 15, knows how amazing her younger brother, Evan, is. That’s why she wishes more people would get to know kids with special needs. 

Christopher Lane/STUDIO at Getty Images for Scholastic

Family Love
Olivia and Evan walk their dog, Kipper. Evan has a medical condition called cerebral palsy.

    When my brother, Evan, and I were little, we loved playing pretend. Sometimes we’d put the armchair covers over our heads and make believe they were our long hair. Other times we’d strap on our backpacks and imagine we were secret agents. 

    Now that Evan is 12 and I’m 15, there are different things we like to do together. We watch videos on YouTube. We go swimming or run around outside. Evan makes me laugh really hard. He’s so much smarter than any other seventh graders I know.

    But most kids never find out how funny, kind, and wise Evan is. That’s because most kids don’t get to know Evan at all. He doesn’t get invited to birthday parties. He doesn’t get picked first in gym class.

    Evan has a disability. And too many people see only the ways Evan is different. They don’t see that in so many ways, he’s just like anyone else. He loves video games, reading, and being outdoors. 

    Evan’s disability is just one small part of who he is.

    I’m 15 years old. My brother, Evan, is 12. When we were little, we loved to play pretend. We’d put the armchair covers on our heads and pretend they were our long hair. We’d strap on our backpacks and pretend we were secret agents. 

    Now that we’re older, we do other things. We watch videos on YouTube. We swim. We play outside. Evan makes me laugh. He’s the smartest seventh-grader I know.

    But most kids never find out how funny, kind, and wise Evan is. That’s because most kids don’t get to know him. He doesn’t get invited to birthday parties. He doesn’t get picked first in gym class.

Evan has a disability. Often, people see only the ways he’s different. But in many ways, he’s like other kids. He loves video games, reading, and being outdoors.

    Evan’s disability is just one small part of who he is.

    When my brother, Evan, and I were little, we loved playing pretend. Sometimes we’d put the armchair covers over our heads and make believe they were our long hair. Other times we’d strap on our backpacks and imagine we were secret agents. 

    Now that Evan is 12 and I’m 15, we enjoy spending time together in other ways. We watch videos on YouTube, go swimming, or run around outside. Evan makes me laugh really hard. He’s so much smarter than any other seventh-graders I know.

    But most kids never find out how funny, kind, and wise Evan is—because most kids don’t get to know Evan at all. He doesn’t get invited to birthday parties. He doesn’t get picked first in gym class.

    Evan has a disability, and people often see only the ways he’s different. They don’t see that in many ways, he’s just like anyone else. He loves video games, reading, and being outdoors.

    Evan’s disability is just one small part of who he is.

Daily Challenges

    Evan has faced challenges his entire life. He was born 15 weeks early and suffered bleeding in his brain. 

    Because of this, Evan has something called cerebral palsy. It’s a medical disorder that can cause problems with moving and speaking. 

    Evan’s cerebral palsy may make him seem different when you first meet him. He walks with braces on his legs. And sometimes he makes sudden sounds called tics. 

    Evan also doesn’t have as much social awareness as other kids his age. That means it can be hard for him to understand what other people are thinking and feeling. 

    Sometimes that causes Evan to talk too much. But he doesn’t mean to take over the conversation. Usually he’s just really excited and doesn’t want to lose people’s attention. 

    Evan has faced challenges all his life. He was born 15 weeks early and suffered bleeding in his brain.

    Because of this, Evan has cerebral palsy. This medical disorder can cause problems with moving and speaking.

    Evan might seem different when you meet him. He walks with braces on his legs. And sometimes he makes sudden sounds called tics.

    He also has less social awareness than other kids his age. That means it can be hard for him to know what other people are thinking and feeling.

    Sometimes Evan talks too much. But he doesn’t mean to. He just gets excited. He doesn’t want to lose people’s attention. 

    Evan has faced challenges his entire life. He was born 15 weeks early and suffered bleeding in his brain.

    As a result, Evan has cerebral palsy, a medical disorder that can cause problems with moving and speaking.

    Evan’s cerebral palsy may make him appear different when you first meet him. He walks with braces on his legs, and sometimes he makes sudden sounds called tics.

    Evan also doesn’t have as much social awareness as other kids his age, so it can be difficult for him to understand what other people are thinking and feeling.

    Sometimes that causes Evan to talk too much—but he doesn’t mean to monopolize the conversation. Usually he’s just really excited and doesn’t want to lose people’s attention. 

Getting Stronger

Courtesy of Seker Family (Horse, Swimming); Christopher Lane/STUDIO at Getty Images for Scholastic (Laughing)

    The way Evan looks and acts can sometimes surprise people or make them uncomfortable. I get it. It’s normal to be scared of something that’s unfamiliar.

    But think about this: When Evan was born, doctors said he might never walk, talk, or swallow. He has worked so hard to be able to do these things. So what if he looks and sounds a little different when he does them? 

    None of Evan’s progress has come easy. From the time he was a baby, he has had many surgeries. Now he goes to about nine different appointments each week. 

    He does stretches every day before he puts on his braces. He works on his speech and breathing with an expert. And he visits doctors to help him strengthen his muscles. 

    He also does a really cool therapy with horses. It helps improve his speech and movement. Now he’s even able to help with chores. As his sister, I am so proud of all that Evan has achieved.

    The way Evan looks and acts can surprise people or make them uncomfortable. I get it. It’s normal to be scared of something unfamiliar.

    But think about this: When Evan was born, doctors said he might never walk, talk, or swallow. He has worked hard to be able to do these things. So what if he looks and sounds a little different when he does them?

    None of Evan’s progress has come easy. He has had many surgeries. Now he goes to about nine different appointments each week.

    He does stretches every day before he puts on his braces. He works on his speech and breathing with an expert. And he visits doctors to help him strengthen his muscles.

    He also does a cool therapy with horses. It helps him with speech and movement. Now he can even help with chores. I’m proud of him.

    The way Evan looks and acts can sometimes surprise people or make them uncomfortable. I get it. It’s normal to be afraid or uncertain when you encounter something unfamiliar.

    But consider this: When Evan was born, doctors said he might never walk, talk, or swallow. He has worked incredibly hard to be able to do these things. So what if he looks and sounds a little different when he does them?

    None of Evan’s progress has come easy. From the time he was a baby, he has had many surgeries. Now he goes to about nine different appointments each week.

    He does stretches every day before he puts on his braces, he works on his speech and breathing with an expert, and he visits doctors to help him strengthen his muscles.

    He also does a really cool therapy with horses, which helps improve his speech and movement. Now he’s even able to help with chores. As his sister, I’m really proud of all that Evan has achieved.

Family Bond

    Don’t get me wrong. Evan is still my little brother. He can annoy me as much as any little brother annoys his sister! I often get frustrated when my parents are easier on him. Sometimes I even resent Evan—and then I feel guilty for feeling that way. 

    But mainly I want to protect Evan. I just want people to treat him normally. I hate when they stare at him, avoid him, or talk to him in a baby voice—as if he’s dumb. 

    When this happens, he’ll reply: “I can hear you just fine. How are you today?” It always makes me laugh. And it reminds me that he doesn’t need me to protect him. He’s independent in his own way. 

    Don’t get me wrong. Evan is still my little brother. He can annoy me as much as any little brother annoys his sister! I get frustrated when my parents are easier on him. Sometimes I even resent Evan. Then I feel guilty for feeling that way.

    But mainly I want to protect Evan. I want people to treat him normally. I hate when they stare at him, avoid him, or talk to him in a baby voice—as if he’s dumb.

    When this happens, he’ll reply: “I can hear you just fine. How are you today?” It makes me laugh. And it reminds me that he doesn’t need me to protect him.  

    Don’t get me wrong—Evan is still my little brother, and he can annoy me as much as any little brother annoys his sister! I often get frustrated when my parents are easier on him. Sometimes I even resent Evan—and then I feel guilty for feeling that way.

    But mainly I want to protect Evan. I just want people to treat him normally. I hate when they stare at him, avoid him, or talk to him in a baby voice—as if he’s dumb.

    When this happens, he’ll reply: “I can hear you just fine. How are you today?” It always makes me laugh. It’s also a valuable reminder that Evan doesn’t need me to protect him. He’s independent in his own way. 

Your Power

    Some days I wish Evan didn’t have cerebral palsy. That way he wouldn’t have to work so hard or feel left out. 

    But I am also grateful for all that Evan’s challenges have taught our family. We always support each other and have learned to have empathy for others.

    I know teens like me hear so many lessons about treating people equally. I know that it’s easy to start to tune them out or think they don’t apply to you. 

    But please understand that every kid deserves to be included. You have the power to make that happen.

    It starts with the most simple thing: Just say hi. 

    Some days I wish Evan didn’t have cerebral palsy. That way he wouldn’t have to work so hard or feel left out.

    But I’m grateful for all that Evan’s challenges have taught our family. We support each other. And we’ve learned to have empathy for others.

    Teens hear many messages about treating people equally. It’s easy to tune them out or think they don’t apply to you.

    But every kid deserves to be included. You can make that happen. It starts with a simple thing: Just say hi. 

    Some days I wish Evan didn’t have cerebral palsy. That way he wouldn’t have to work so hard or feel excluded.

    But I’m also grateful for all that Evan’s challenges have taught our family. We always support each other and have learned to have empathy for others.

    Teens like me are constantly hearing messages about treating people equally, and I know how easy it can be to start tuning them out or thinking they don’t apply to you.

    But please understand that every kid deserves to be included, and that you have the power to make that happen.

    It starts with the simplest thing: Just say hi. 

ACTIVITY: 
Problem and Solution

You’ve just read “My Brother, My Hero” It’s time to try this activity!

You’ve just read “My Brother, My Hero” It’s time to try this activity!

You’ve just read “My Brother, My Hero” It’s time to try this activity!

What to do: In this story, Olivia talks about a problem that she sees her brother face. You also learn about how you can become part of the solution to that problem.

In the chart below, fill in the blanks. First, identify the solution. Then, write in the details from the story that help you understand the problem and solution.

What to do: In this story, Olivia talks about a problem that she sees her brother face. You also learn about how you can become part of the solution to that problem.

In the chart below, fill in the blanks. First, identify the solution. Then, write in the details from the story that help you understand the problem and solution.

What to do: In this story, Olivia talks about a problem that she sees her brother face. You also learn about how you can become part of the solution to that problem.

In the chart below, fill in the blanks. First, identify the solution. Then, write in the details from the story that help you understand the problem and solution.

The Problem:

Many people treat Evan differently because he has cerebral palsy.

Detail 1: Some kids never even get to know Evan.

Detail 2:
Hint: What sorts of things is Evan left out of?   

Detail 3:
Hint: What do people do to Evan that Olivia hates?  

Detail 1: Some kids never even get to know Evan.

Detail 2:
Hint: What sorts of things is Evan left out of?   

Detail 3:
Hint: What do people do to Evan that Olivia hates?  

Detail 1: Some kids never even get to know Evan.

Detail 2:
Hint: What sorts of things is Evan left out of?   

Detail 3:
Hint: What do people do to Evan that Olivia hates?  

The Solution:

Detail 1: Getting to know someone can help you see the ways that they are similar to you.    

Detail 2:
Hint: What lesson does Olivia want you to pay attention to?

Detail 3:
Hint: What’s one easy way to make someone feel included?

Detail 1: Getting to know someone can help you see the ways that they are similar to you.    

Detail 2:
Hint: What lesson does Olivia want you to pay attention to?

Detail 3:
Hint: What’s one easy way to make someone feel included?

Detail 1: Getting to know someone can help you see the ways that they are similar to you.    

Detail 2:
Hint: What lesson does Olivia want you to pay attention to?

Detail 3:
Hint: What’s one easy way to make someone feel included?

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