6-year-old girl defends autistic brother with viral letter
Posted October 30, 2016
ENGLAND — When a 6-year-old girl heard another child calling her autistic brother “weird,” she decided she needed to take action.
Her heartfelt, handwritten note to her student body has inspired a movement across the globe.
Lex Camilleri and her brother, 9-year-old Frank, have always been close. While Lex is the younger of the siblings, she often serves as Frank’s protector, her parents told Today.
“Lex absolutely loves Frank,” Sophie Camilleri, the children’s mother, said. “She’s always by his side … she always looks out for him.”
So when a girl at her school approached her and told her that her big brother was “weird,” she immediately tried to explain to the child that Frank has autism. Her classmate had no idea what that meant, Camilleri told Today.
“The fact is, she has lived and breathed autism for the first six years of her life,” she said. “Ultimately, she was taken aback by the lack of understanding.”
So with a little help from her parents, Lex sat down and wrote a note to present at her next student council meeting.
“My brother has autism and is not weird,” Lex wrote. “I would like it if we could learn about all disabilities in schools so that everybody understands that some people are different, but we should all be treated the same.”
Camilleri snapped a photo of the handwritten note and posted it to her Facebook page.
“Im so very proud that Lex has this view and wants to change the way other children view others with disabilities,” she wrote in her caption.
As of Thursday night, the post had been shared more than 36,500 times. Even the National Autistic Society caught wind of Lex’s crusade — praising her for her efforts on its Facebook page and encouraging others to share her note.
“We think there should be much more autism understanding in the classroom which is why (we) are encouraging all schools and nurseries around the country to sign up to our free autism resources,” the post reads.
With just a few sentences, Lex has touched thousands of people — most of whom are strangers to the 6-year-old.
“Lex, you are miles ahead of the rest and I wish everybody was as forward thinking as you,” wrote one commenter. “My son has Autism and I wish more people (adults as well as children) would ask more questions about it so they can understand the day to day challenges he faces.”
Lex and her family are set to meet with a member of Parliament about implementing disability education in schools across England, Today reported.
Lex’s dad, Jace Camilleri, told Today he couldn’t be more proud of his brave little girl.
“It’s a critical subject,” he said. “So it was fantastic just to see her write it down. It spread like wildfire. We were overwhelmed with pride.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism is five times more common in boys than among girls.
Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.