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What I Wish Parents Knew About Being the Sibling of a Child With Autism

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Siblings play a huge part in the upbringing of their sibling(s) with autism. However, our thoughts may not always be shared. We may feel keeping quiet is safer than sharing what’s on our minds; this includes our own problems and experiences. This post aims to share some of the thoughts that often don’t get said because we don’t know how.

1. You’re doing great.

Parents can feel they don’t give their other children enough attention, but we want you to know we see how hard you work and you’re doing a brilliant job. You let us go to the movies, see our friends and buy us those new shoes we’ve been eyeing up for ages. You cook us dinner, have food in for our lunches, bring us to school and ask us how our day was. You don’t deprive us or forget us. You care for us the best way you can, and you shouldn’t feel bad for that.

2. Involve us more.

Of course this may not be true of every sibling, but in my experience we want to help. We want our sibling to achieve their milestones; we want to watch them grow and develop whatever it takes. Involves us in their homework, sensory activities and occupational work. We want them to get the services they need. We want to fight for them with you.

3. We’re humans too.

We’re going to get frustrated and angry. We’re going to cry and scream. We’re going to have bad days and we need to told that’s OK. We may feel we have to be a perfect influence on our brothers and sisters with autism. We may feel like we’re not allowed to get angry and scream, or say no and get frustrated. We don’t mean to annoy you or give you more stress, but we’re human and all of these emotions are part of that.

4. We have “regular” teen issues too.

We experience fallouts, drama and stresses just like other people our age. We don’t always share that with you. We don’t want to burden you and add more stress to your plate. If we seem down or snappy, we don’t mean to take it out on you, we’re just experiencing average teenage drama. We’re growing, learning and making mistakes. Please be patient with us too.

5. We think about the future.

Please know we see your worries, stresses, thoughts and concerns for their future. We will be there for them when you go. We’re not going to abandon our sibling(s). They’re not a burden and they do not prevent us from our futures. We love them and we will not see anyone hurt them. They are and always will be a part of our lives because we wouldn’t want it any other way. They are our sibling(s) and we will take on anything that is thrown our way.

Originally published: February 5, 2019
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