If your family has just received an autism diagnosis, here are some very real pieces of advice from Estelle and Gavin, two “autism siblings.”
1. It will be very hard at times, but you will get though.
2. Even if you feel like he’s being annoying, make sure to go with the flow.
3. Always talk about the rules before you play a game.
4. Try not to freak out when he disagrees.
5. Don’t yell.
6. Help your parents by telling them right away when your brother starts to lose it.
7. Don’t let him be bullied. Tell your mom or your teacher.
8. Give him warnings to get him off the video game or stop watching a football game.
9. Always tell him where you are going; he doesn’t like surprises… even if it’s just the movie store.
10. Make sure he’s comfortable with what you do.
11. Help explain things if he needs help.
12. If he’s having problems, just be quiet and stand to the side.
13. Never say the “R” word.
14. Tell your friends so they understand your brother when they come over.
15. Try to find things you like to do together.
16. He’ll be annoying at times because he likes to touch. He just doesn’t have the words to say hi. Just be patient.
17. Don’t feel bad if he decides to stop playing with you all of a sudden and just walks away.
18. He doesn’t mean to hurt your feelings. Sometimes he just doesn’t know better.
19. Don’t let him get away with too much. Be sure to tell your mom.
20. Take a break from him and don’t feel bad.
21. Have your own space.
22. Be understanding of your parents, because they are doing the best they can.
23. Get used to him only staying at your birthday party for a little bit. It’s really overwhelming.
24. If you get sad, talk to your mom. She loves you just as much, even if it seems like he gets more attention. She wants to know that you are sad. She always makes it better.
25. Just get used to it, it’s not going anywhere.
26. He might break or ruin your stuff. It will make you sad and that’s okay. Just remember he didn’t mean to.
27. Try to get him to look at you. I get in funny positions trying to get his eyes to look at mine, and I think it’s important.
28. It won’t go away.
29. He won’t take medicine to make it better.
30. Like anyone else, he will have REALLY big poop sometimes. If he forgets to flush, go get your mom.
31. He might be sleeping when you’re awake or awake when you’re sleeping.
32. He’ll sometimes have problems spitting out what he’s trying to say. Just try to be patient.
33. He doesn’t know he has bad manners. If he’s eating his cereal loud, just eat yours louder. Then when he looks at you funny, tell him you thought it was a contest. That will make him laugh and remind him to close his mouth. There are lots of tricks to help him learn to be better without making him feel bad.
34. He might say something embarrassing in the middle of church. Just smile.
35. He also might hang on your mom during church – it’s okay, it looks weird, but it helps him stay calm.
36. He’ll talk all the time about the Minnesota Vikings. If you’re not interested, just pretend you are paying attention and say “uh-huh” every now and then.
37. He’ll interrupt you, but he’s not doing it to be mean. He doesn’t know there are rules to having conversations. You can teach him some rules though – like talk time and think time. That’s what my mom made up.
38. Don’t move his stuff. He knows right where everything is. He’ll freak out.
39. You have to learn to be very understanding.
40. You will learn to have more patience with other people – especially if they are unique.
41. You will stop paying attention to other people who are different.
42. When he’s asleep, DO NOT wake him up.
43. When he gets loud in public it can be hard. You may feel embarrassed, but you will get used to it. Just ignore other people.
44. You have to learn how to walk away, a lot.
45. You just have to be understanding and try really hard to have patience.
46. He doesn’t pay attention to cars, so you might have to help your mom in the parking lot. Help her make sure he doesn’t get hit by a car.
47. Always help your parents keep an eye on your sibling and help keep them safe.
48. Sometimes it’s weird because if you’re younger (like me), you may be better at some school things. You don’t need to talk about it, because it will make him feel sad.
49. Sometimes, just ignore him.
50. Always, always, love him.
This post originally appeared on 366 Days of Autism.
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