I am an autism sibling. I've had lots of my experiences come to mind lately as I've been thinking about what my family may be like in the future. I live in a very family oriented part of the country. It is not uncommon to see a woman my age or even younger tote three or four children to the grocery store. When people see that I have a four year old and no other children and no signs of expecting, I get asked, "Do you want more kids?" Rude, I know.
I have a memory bank full of experiences of what it is like to be an autism sibling. I wouldn't call my teenage years "normal." My brother is classically autistic in the moderate range. While there were definitely rewarding experiences, there were also lots of challenges.
This is a story I wrote for autism siblings in a previous post. Even though I am not much of a writer, I feel like for this story I included a good balance of the good and the challenging.
Read The Chocolate Effect here.
I did have some friends that were like the Allison in the story and I will always be grateful. (Admittedly though, we would usually hang out at other places besides my home.) My most Allison like friend, (as far as the purposes in the story goes, anyway,) was the young man that I eventually married. When we were just friends in high school Jason would invite himself over and hang out. He put up with my brother's antics marvelously. My sister and I coined the challenge of our brother with new people "The Jared Test" and when we were young adults we used it on all our dates. We learned quickly which of the young men were most patient. It turned out to be a very viable test.
So as I have my memories running through my head, and my future family before me, I've been feeling like I am missing a perspective. That is the one of the parent of the child that has the autism sibling. Are there any parents out there who are willing to share? What do you do with your autism sib kids to help them learn from, be patient towards, and in some cases, have normal social lives despite their challenges at home?