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“I See the Color Blue Differently” by Emily Sherba


Emily Sherba saw the positive impact ACC’s Autism School has had on both of her younger brothers, Ryan and Drew. She also witnessed the difference doctors and pharmacists played in their lives. Both of these factors shaped her career path.

In applying for The Ohio State University’s pharmacy program, Emily wrote the following essay and agreed to share it.

“I See the Color Blue Differently”

Blue has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember. However, I have always had a stronger connection to the color blue than most. When people see blue, most think of the ocean, the sky, or even birds. But I have been seeing blue in a new way since November 13th, 2010.

On this day, my younger brother was born two months early. He underwent multiple procedures for being born so early, like having tubes placed in his ears before he could even speak. From a very young age, I can even remember seeing my brother in his Toy Story recliner with blood coming out of his freshly operated ears, my family hoping the recent surgery would help him learn to speak.

Because of his extreme delay in hearing and learning, my brother was diagnosed with autism. I was only ten years old and had never even heard of autism until this moment.

My brother is one of my favorite people in the world and has taught me so much about his life on the spectrum. Despite being 5 years younger than me and not being able to speak fluently, he has taught me more about the real world in his past 12 years alive than I could have hoped for.

I was blessed to have been born healthy and more capable of learning. However, my brother was not given this luxury and was constantly undergoing procedures, doctor’s appointments, and special learning. Throughout my childhood, I remember the countless doctor’s appointments he attended and the plethora of medications he was prescribed. I even remember the time we had to put prescribed fish oil on him and could smell it down the block.

These medications are what helped my brother live his best life with autism. They were able to calm him in times of stressful situations and help him get in touch with his true personality. Without them, his stress levels are elevated and he goes into a miserable state and he can’t even speak to tell us what’s wrong. I have helped my mom measure his medications and put them into his Toy Story sippy cup so he can enjoy and remain the sweet little boy we all know and love.

Both of my two younger brothers have been diagnosed with autism and showcase it in many different ways. They have shown me the ropes of the true spectrum of autism and how much it can vary. My exposure to my brothers’ use of medication made me want to pursue pharmacy, so I could help get the proper medicines to people like them – to help siblings, friends, and parents out there who are going through similar situations. Constant medication swaps and doctor’s appointments to make sure they were getting the correct dosage inspired me to want to be the person giving the medicine to someone else’s little brother.

November 13th, 2010 changed my life forever and created a tint of blue over my view of the world. When I see blue, I see my brother. I see countless medications, procedures, and doctor visits. I see his Toy Story sippy cup filled with V8 juice, Lexapro, and more. I see him swimming in our neighborhood pool, happy as can be. I see my special connection to autism that I can use to help others out there.

– Emily Sherba

Watch this short video from Emily and her parents on her role as a big sister.

Read more about their family’s story

Consider donating in honor of the Howell Family to Achievement Centers for Children’s Autism School




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