It's a tough one when your sibling is a child with special needs. It's even tougher when that child has autism and doesn't have the intrinsic desire to play, interact and communicate with the people in his environment. It becomes very easy to ignore that child because of the lack of emotional feedback which helps develop a reciprocal relationship. It is also incredibly hard to deal with the fact that the sibling with special needs gets a lot more attention (even though the Mum tries very hard to maintain a balance!!)
For the sake of this post, I asked my teenager a few questions!
- How does it feel when you are out in public with your brother? "I used to be very aware of public scrutiny and I would get quite embarrassed, although it doesn't bother me any more!"
- When you were a little guy how did you feel about your brother getting more attention than you? "I did think it was unfair and I used to be jealous of my brother getting so much attention, however, I now realize that my brother does require more attention and I am okay with that!"
- How did you feel about your brother back then? "I loved my brother, although I found it hard to cope with him and the unfamiliarity of it all - I didn't know what was wrong and didn't understand why he was the way he was!"
- What are your thoughts on your brother and the whole autism experience? "I accept him for the way he is and how he will never be truly normal/neuro-typical!" "I like spending time with my brother even though he can be a bit of a pest and/or slight annoyance!"
I am not going to write about the problems that my teenager has encountered over the years due to having a sibling with special needs. However, I must just say that he has grown into a responsible, caring and mature young man....... and I am very proud of him!
The following clip was taken three days ago!