Cydnee Gibbs battles Autism with brother


Autumn Boekeloo

Michael (left) and sister Cydnee (right) celebrate the holiday season together.

Autumn Boekeloo, Reporter

15 years ago, on October 16, 2000 Cherise and Scott Gibbs gave birth to a child named Michael. Suspecting Michael behaved “differently” at 18 months into his infancy, the family became concerned for their son’s well-being. The reason came two years later when the hospital informed the Gibbs family that Michael tested positive for Autism. With several years of curiosity in the past, the family prepared themselves to assist Michael with his neurodevelopmental disorder.

With the newfound information, Michael’s parents immediately questioned his future.

Hoping for a successful lifestyle even with the disorder, sister Cydnee Gibbs, junior, felt sympathetic for her brother’s future as well. “I wondered if he would get judged. Judged for who he is and will people accept him,” said Cydnee.

Living in a grounded household, Michael performs daily activities with his family leading him in the right direction. Michael greets all of the people he encounters when his family says, “Say hi.” With a soft smile, he says “Hi!” making everyone around him feel comfortable.

Understanding the pressures and struggles of everyday life, Cydnee accepts her brother’s disorder as a blessing instead of a hassle. “He’s inspired me a lot and he’s made me have more patience in life and he has inspired me to be a special needs teacher because he makes me feel like I need to help out kids and give them a chance to learn and try to be a normal person,” Cydnee said.

If Michael’s disorder never existed, The Gibbs family imagines their lives would remain similar to the way they live today, with the exception of constantly locking doors to ensure Michael does not leave the house.

Michael will attend NC as a freshman in the Special Education program next fall. With Cydnee attending NC as well, the family looks forward to Michael feeling relaxed and adapting smoothly to the new setting. With so much patience to give, Cydnee plans to care for Michael in the future when her parents are no longer able to do so.