Siblings and Autism (Two Sister’s Perspective)

Throughout this last year I never ever took one-step back to ask my children what their experience is like living with a brother who is autistic.

Two Sister’s (Lola and Lulu) Perspective

I am a mother of three beautiful unique children. Unique? You might ask. Before we get to that I’m happy to say that these siblings get along just fine…for the most! Sibling love at it’s finest!

My oldest girl Lulu is 14 years old, who, well, she is trying to find herself. Now I could go on about her but I thought about dropping the phone emoji, so it is safe to stop here. She is egocentric, yet so innocent and sweet, trying to learn the world around her.

My 8-year-old Lola girl (my middle child), she is a story all by herself. As I write these blogs, you will hear about Lulu, as she stands over my shoulder telling me what to type.

My son (Papa), I am sure my girls would tell you that he is my favorite; he gets all the attention.  Now listen, when they both stated attention I had to dive deep to get a better understanding of what that looked like. Therefore, I started interviewing my daughters. Throughout this last year I never ever took one-step back to ask my children what their experience is like living with a brother who is autistic. I actually realized that Lulu was with me when the psychiatrist informed me that Papa had Autism.  I decided to make time to talk with them separately; I did not want my oldest to affect my youngest thoughts. I only asked one simple question “What is it like living with your brother who has Autism?”

Here are their answers:

Lola Girl’s Perspective-

“Mom, I want to have cool visitors like my brother.”

Cool visitors?

“Yeah, he gets his own private therapist that comes to the house, he has many play dates, and you go to meetings at different schools for him, oh and he will not have to wear a uniform cause he gets to go to public school. I get sad when he gets more cuddle time than me. I know you have to calm him down when he is upset. Mom, I want you to know that I am going to teach my brother how to read and how to make friends when we go outside and guess what I am going to teach him how to cross the street. He will be safe with me.  I just need him to calm down and do not pinch me when he gets mad.”

Lulu’s Perspective:

“It is like a roller coaster, ugghh, mom! Each day is different.  One day he likes something and then he doesn’t. Sometimes it is extremely fun; when he does not have tantrums. Then there are days when he breaks down and has a rough time. I have watched him learn new things; those are the most amazing times. I had to learn words like “trigger”, not to make him upset. Then I get sad because I know that people make jokes about autism, they are insensitive. I want people to know that my brother is not “stupid”.  I need people to understand. Mom, he is a pest, he does do things that irritate me, like turning off the refrigerator, takes ownership of my phone, he thinks we are involved in a game and we clearly are not. However, I have to say he is the sweetest person you will ever meet. He is my Papa.”

I am going to leave this thought with you who are reading this. If you have older children, please take the time to ask your children questions about their sibling who’s on the spectrum. Do not be afraid of what you will learn.

I have decided that I will journal Lulu and Lola’s thoughts now, and again in a few years. I also recognize that this topic has made me a little emotional; yet, it was eye-opening!  These conversations need to continue, on so many levels. I know that I will not be on this Earth forever; I know that my son may need his sisters to aide him as an adult. These are thoughts that we think in our heads, but truly have a hard time talking about it.

Despite my two girls bickering back and forth with their brother, I know that Autism could not overshadow the love that my children have for each other.

 

Jy Young is a mom of 3 children and a contributing writer sharing her story on siblings and autism. She serves in her community to help other families impacted by autism.