Senior student advocates for siblings with Autism


Photo courtesy of Kate Connerty

Kate Connerty with her younger siblings, Matthew and Samantha.

Hannah Kopek, Sports Editor

Senior Kate Connerty is an accomplished dancer, aspiring special education teacher, and an older sister to two siblings with Autism. Both her brother Matthew and her sister Samantha were diagnosed with Autism, a mild and more severe case respectively.

“We love to just be with each other and laugh,” Connerty said. Her sister, more affectionately known as Sami, has a difficult time communicating with others.

“Samantha was diagnosed with a very severe case of autism when she was around the age of one,” Connerty said. “She is in her own little world having the time of her life. She is very smart and she knows what she wants, she just can’t communicate it to us in the best way.” Her brother Matthew, on the other hand, is able to effectively communicate.

“Matthew  is verbal, loving,  funny, and intelligent,” Connerty said. “When we were little I would want to play with him or with all our neighborhood friends, but when he would come out, the kids were treated so differently.” Connerty does not make excuses for people who treat her siblings differently.

“People with disabilities need love and support too!” Connerty said. “I’ve learned to protect my siblings as if they were my own child. I will be the guardian of my sister when my parents die.” Despite the weight of her responsibilities, Connerty remains positive, and advocates for her siblings.

“People are different, but being different is what makes the world evolve,” Connerty said. “I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side”