As the sibling of a person with autism, you might find yourself in a distressing situation. You want to help your family member but are unsure how to do so and feel like it’s not enough. It can be hard to keep up an understanding conversation when nobody is listening or willing to listen. This article covers some advice that may ease the tension between siblings and their autistic brother/sister as well as providing insight into what they’re going through.
The “siblings of autistic child” is a very common question that many parents ask. The advice in this article should help you deal with the situation.
It’s not always simple to have a sibling. Everything, even your parents’ time, is expected of you. When your brother or sister has autism, the sibling bond might become more complicated.
Some autism-affected people’s siblings are unfazed by the strain. If you’re having trouble, know that you’re not alone.
Conversation is your hidden weapon when dealing with challenges associated to having a sister with autism. The more you speak about your worries, the better people will be able to assist you.
You may also take actions to make things simpler for yourself and your sibling on your own.
Take in as much information as possible.
You most likely already have a fair understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It’s probable that your parents discussed it with you. But there’s more you can discover about your brother or sister to help you understand them better.
In ASD, the term spectrum refers to the disorder’s wide range of symptoms. Some individuals have all of the traditional symptoms, while others just experience a few. Sometimes the issues are serious, and other times they aren’t.
The majority of persons with autism struggle with:
- Communication. Some autistic persons don’t communicate at all, while others prefer to chat just about the topics that interest them. Your sibling may use graphics or other means to communicate their desires.
- Information from the senses. Loud sounds, strong odors, and bright lights may create confusion in people with ASD. Your sibling may also be averse of being touched.
- Restriction. People with autism may have restricted interests and seek solace in routines that do not alter frequently.
- Interactions with others. Many persons with autism yearn for personal relationships. They may, however, find it difficult to establish acquaintances.
These fundamental indications and symptoms were most likely discussed with you by your parents. Experts advise that elder siblings discuss the diagnosis with experts.
Make an appointment with the special education needs coordinator or guidance counselor at your school. Alternatively, request to speak with your sibling’s therapist. Inquire about your sibling’s behavior and reactions from a specialist. The facts you’ve gathered could be able to assist you improve your connection.
After that, inquire with your parents about joining your sibling’s official treatment sessions. According to researchers, therapists can help siblings develop their ties and have a better understanding of one another. Your treatment sessions might be used to:
- Recognize different communication methods. To gain your attention, your sibling may utilize eye contact, body position, or a soft touch. These cues might come and go in a flash, and you may miss them.
- Everyone is on the same page. You can connect by asking questions, summarizing things, and double-checking your comprehension.
Observing a sibling’s therapy session might help you improve your empathy. If you observe your sister during an applied behavior analysis session, you could see how difficult it is for the person you care about to perform something as basic as brushing their teeth. You could also notice how diligently your sibling works to do the assignment correctly. You could leave the session even more proud of your sibling than you are right now.
Create a network of people who can help you.
You’re not the only one who feels this way. You’re surrounded by folks who can aid you even on your worst days. Strengthen your support network so you can call on even more resources when you need them.
Among the people who can help you are:
- A therapist. Siblings of persons with autism are more likely to suffer mental health issues, according to researchers. It’s conceivable that the genes that produce autism in your brother induce sadness or anxiety in you, or that the pressure you experience as a sibling makes you prone to problems. If you’re having trouble, a therapist may provide the support you need to feel better.
- Support from peers. You aren’t the only sibling in the world who has an autistic sibling. In reality, you’re probably not alone in your neighborhood. Request that your parents or counselors link you with other families who are similar to yours. Inquire about how they deal with the problems you’re having. This kind of peer support may make you feel less alone, and you could even learn a few coping skills.
Take Charge of Your Feelings
It may be difficult for parents to raise a kid with autism. Your parents’ schedules may be jam-packed with meetings, consultations, and duties. As a result, you may feel under pressure to be the ideal kid who never creates any difficulties.
Keeping your emotions bottled up might have unintended repercussions. You could lash out at your sibling, or you might suffer at school.
Recognize that your emotions are legitimate. It’s natural to believe that your brother or sister gets away with everything while you go unnoticed. You may be enraged, envious, or frustrated.
Your parents are urged to extend grace to you. They understand that you can’t be flawless all of the time, and they don’t expect you to.
Allow yourself to be graced in the same way. On terrible days, accept your feelings and employ practices like yoga or meditation to let go of unwanted memories. Each morning, forgive yourself for what occurred the day before and resolve to do your best today.
Make Your Relationship Stronger
As you become closer to your brother, some of your bitterness and anger may dissipate. In fact, you could find that you really like your brother or sister.
Strengthen your relationship by doing the following:
- Setting aside time. Make time each week to engage with your brother or sister for an hour or two. So that no one forgets and everyone understands it’s important, ask your parents to put it on the family calendar. Treat this day as though it were any other crucial meeting. Arrive with an open mind and a determination to enjoy yourself.
- Choosing an activity that both of you like. It’s fun to collaborate on a project. Make a small puzzle, play a game, ride your bike around the yard, or come up with another activity you can do together.
- Accepting your sibling is a difficult task. You wish your brother or sister could communicate with you, or that your relationship was effortless. That seems to be fair. However, there is currently no cure for autism. The disease will always exist, no matter how hard your sibling tries in treatment. Instead of concentrating on what you don’t like about your sibling, think about what you do.
- Requesting assistance. According to the Autism Society, forming a connection with someone who has ASD is not always simple. It’s possible that your efforts at dialogue may be received with silence or fluttering hands. It’s possible that your sibling may abandon you. If you’re having trouble breaking through, seek guidance from your parents or a therapist for your sibling.
Always remember to take a break if you feel the need. You could say or do things to your sibling that you’ll later regret if you’re furious or offended. Take a break and return when you are calm and relaxed.
The “support for siblings of autism” is a blog that offers advice and support for siblings of those with autism. The blog also includes links to other resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
- my brother has autism will my child have it
- the impact of autism on siblings
- i can’t deal with my autistic brother
- marrying someone with autistic sibling
- benefits of having a sibling with autism
Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.