Saturday, October 17, 2009


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?


BohemianGlitz said...

Well, my teenager is the one on the spectrum and my little one is 19 mo old. I make an extra effort to teach him (the little one) to love her, hug her and blow her kisses. This is great because physical affection is very hard for her. There is so much day to day that is a struggle since I am also trying to teach my teenager to be patient with the little one. So far, so good.

Celeste Jean said...

How wonderful for her to have a little brother! I love what you are doing. Best of everything!

sweet and simple stuff said...

We have a fourteen year old son with Aspergers. His 12 year old sister always try to make her brother "happy" and offcourse he often hurts her feelings. She started to behave strange last year. Black clothes and angry sitting on the stairs for "nothing" Hated to take showers and didn't take care of herselve. Because we were afraid that it would go worse I started to work with her doing craft in my studio in the hours her brother had help from a student with his schoolwork.This is now our real little shop. And she changed a lot now she has her own "thing" to be proud of. It isn't always easy, but we know each other so much better and talk a lot as we work in the studio. I'm glad that we have these special times together!

Celeste Jean said...

sweet and simple stuff, from my experience of being a autism sibling I think special time together and promoting a special interest for your child are some of the most important things you can to to help them cope with the stress of having a sib with autism. Seriously, well done.