I hope no special needs mama’s take this title badly. It’s just the only words I could come up with to aptly describe my Designer Diva. She truly is, a sibling to Autism. Out of three children, she is the only typical child born in our family.
Is that accurate?
I recently started seeing this pin going around that then turned into an Instagram post. It says “If you want to know how to treat a child with Autism…look to their sibling, they will show you.”
Let’s agree to disagree
I’m sorry, but this statement makes me crazy angry. I feel like this just puts way to much pressure on typical siblings first of all, and second, no child is born knowing how to treat an Autistic child. Adults need to LEARN how to do that, so putting something out there that a child will simply know how is ridiculous. Being the mother of two children diagnosed with Autism and one typical child, I can tell you, it’s just like every other sibling relationship. Except, she doesn’t understand WHY they do the things they do. Why they are so overwhelming and get so upset so easily. Our Designer Diva had to learn all about Autism, and specifically, how it affects her brother and sister in DIFFERENT ways!
Designer Diva is still just a 9-year-old girl though. She still gets annoyed with her older brother and little sister just like any other middle child would. They all still fight just like every other set of siblings on the planet. The difference between Designer Diva and another middle child is that she has worked her but off to learn what’s okay and what’s not. She has had to learn patience and empathy at a very young age. My dear girl has experienced enormous amounts of guilt in her 9 short years. Guilt wishing she could take back words or actions because she realized that they have a bigger effect on her siblings than they would on typical children.
What it’s like to be the sibling
So, what is it like to only have Autistic siblings? I’ll let her answer for you :).
What’s it like to have siblings with Autism? “It’s very difficult. Sometimes it can be annoying or frustrating.”
What do you think the difference is between Special Needs siblings and typical siblings? “They get frustrated a lot quicker. They can get upset if sometimes things don’t go the way they want them to.”
Do you wish your brother and sister did not have Autism? “Yes,” Why? “Because it would be easier for them to have friends and for me to play with them.”
What is your favorite thing about them? “Sir. E is really funny and Little Miss Psychopath is fun to play with”
What’s the best thing? “They love me, not as much as a normal brother and sister would, a lot more”
What’s the worst thing? “Tantrums”
What advice would you give to kids younger than you that have a brother or sister with Autism? “I would probably tell them that it’s hard to take care of them but, they will love you more than anybody else”
If you want to know how to treat a child with Autism…
Does she know how to treat them? Of course, she does, she treats them like her brother and sister. That’s not how others should treat them though. If you want to know how to treat a child with Autism, get to know them and educate yourself! Advocacy and awareness is about getting people to educate themselves and learn how Autism can affect a child. If you want to learn empathy, patience and true love, look to the sibling of an Autistic child.
I must say, she has learned to always watch and be on alert, I fear she’s turning into a mini special needs mom…