I've already touched on negative reactions to my brother, but wanted to go into this further.
Having grown up with Nick it's obviously very hard for me to understand why he would elicit a bad reaction from anyone. He's loveable and sweet; harmless at worst!
Yet in the past we've had neighbours who have hated him. Who have openly said they didn't want a disabled person living next door to them.
These same neighbours also objected to his school bus stopping in our street (on the grounds that it contained a group of disabled children) and called the police on him when he accidentally kicked a football too high and it went over their fence.
I was sometimes teased at school about my brother, although I was unaffected by this. I never got upset in the way the bullies intended, just angry at their complete ignorance.
Even in my adult life I come across people who think it's funny to make fun of disabled people and use the words ‘mong' and ‘spastic'. Something I am completely incredulous about and have worked hard to stamp out wherever I find it.
The reason I mention all of this is because I wanted to illustrate a point.
Above is a picture of my brother on his first day of nursery school.
I may be biased but I think he looks adorable!
On the same day as this photo was taken, my mum was standing in the queue at the nursery school as the other parents stood around were discussing how they didn't want disabled children joining the nursery school and didn't want their kids being forced to mix with them.
Now look again at that photo.
I think it shows a great contrast between people's attitudes to the idea of disability and the reality of disabled people.
It also gives you an idea about what it's like to have a disabled family member. You can see that they're adorable, but other people seem to shun or actively dislike them. It's hurtful and confusing.
Incidentally, the kids at the nursery that were permitted to mix with my brother absolutely loved him and would constantly knock on our front door asking to play football with Nick.
They also grew up having no issues with disabled people.
Perhaps if all kids mixed with disabled people from an early age attitudes would improve.