Paintings from Last Visit with Mike

I painted the watercolors below based on photos I took during my last visit  to see Mike (note – be aware that there may be triggers in this post. I was very emotional at the time), which was two years ago. Mom was still alive and Dave, my younger brother was able to attend as well. […]

It’s Mike’s Birthday!

Every year that my parents were well, we would arrange to meet at Mike‘s group home for a birthday party. It was fun and the other residents really enjoyed it, as did we all. The photos below are from his birthday in 1992. Mom and Dad were still around and vigorous. You’ll find my post […]

Large Mental Institutions

An article in today’s New York Times about the plans to close the Brooklyn Developmental Center (BDC) in New York City sparked some memories in me.  My brother Mike  is autistic, nonverbal and low functioning. I visited him at the BDC when he was an inmate there. Inmate seems such a harsh word, but it was a fitting term in the era […]

Happy Birthday, Mike

My brother Mike is 65 today (11-11-14).  He is my older brother, autistic, very low functioning, and has never said a word in his whole life.  I began this blog to relate my experiences in trying to get to know him – a daunting task, when you consider I  never knew if he knew who […]

More of the Picture

My younger brother doesn’t remember much of our older brother Mike. Michael is autistic, low functioning and nonverbal. He went away to Willowbrook when I was about 10 years old, which means younger brother (YB) was about 6. My parents told me that they tried to shield us from Michael. It didn’t work for me, […]


I have heard that good artwork requires some amount of distance from the subject. For example, I know that I have a hard time singing a song that packs an emotional punch. My throat tightens up and I can’t sing any more. Do opera singers feel the same way as their emotional audiences? I imagine that the hard […]

Fishing and Gardening

Periodic reality check From time to time, I need to pause and reflect about my posts to see that they are still related to my original mission: to blog about autism and related topics from a sibling’s point of view.  When I first began my blog in 2013, I spent the first eleven months or so […]

Resting Hands Revisited

Yesterday’s watercolor study did not portray the emotion or feeling that I wanted. Although each hand position was fairly accurate, I think their relative positions contributed to my unhappiness. Today I was thinking about how to remedy the situation: Perhaps I could include more context. If the forearms or torso were presented, would that help? […]

Resting Position

Everybody has a position in which they are comfortable. I’m not sure if this is the case with the owner of the hands in today’s study. M___ was a classmate of my brother Michael at his Day Program. For those of you reading my blog for the first time, Mike is my older brother who is […]