Tag Archives: siblings

Merry Christmas

27 Dec

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

I know I did!

I’m so behind and have so much to share…

First was Dylan’s school performance. He rocked it. Seriously. His rendition of Feliz Navidad was one of my favorites. He stood on stage so nicely and sang along to most of the songs. He would look over and smile at me every few minutes. He knew I was so proud of him.

Then, last week I got to take Little D to see Santa. The company I work for put on a big Christmas party for their clients. They had arts and crafts and of course, Santa. Dylan did so well at the party! He participated. He followed rules. He greeted. He made eye contact. And he smiled nicely with Santa.

On Christmas I got to celebrate with him again. We have a tradition, he and I. We do a gingerbread house together every year. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and didn’t get to do it Tuesday. But, I still gave him one and I know he will enjoy building it. He was engaged and participating in most of the Christmas celebration. My husband and I both noticed how much calmer he was this year, as compared with years past. Every year he seems to be doing better and better with holidays. He did an awesome job, and he really enjoyed opening all his presents.

Here’s a photo summary of my Christmas with Dyl.

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Siblings- Part 2

12 Dec

I saw an article online today entitled, “Autism’s Invisible Victims: The Siblings,” by Barbara Cain.

You can read the full article here.

This is the last paragraph, and I thought it summed things up very nicely:

“Autism isn’t just a health crisis; it’s a family crisis that impacts all members. Sometimes the impact on siblings can be positive. Aware of their comparative good fortune, these siblings were inclined toward sacrifice and mature beyond their years. Most were prepared to assume full responsibility for adult siblings in later years, and many enter an array of helping professions. But until we recognize autism’s collateral effects and attend to the special needs of the whole family, we will not really be grappling with the far-reaching but deeply felt impact of this disorder.

What I love about that last paragraph is how it mentions some good things that come from having an autistic sibling, while not negating the potentially ‘bad’ things that come with it.

I appreciate the writer’s attempt to enlighten families about the unseen impact of autism on the siblings. Often,  the deep effects go unnoticed. Sure, most parents are aware that sometimes siblings feel neglected or forgotten. Most parents have heard that kids can be jealous of autistic siblings sometimes. But do most parents know that siblings might feel pressured to grow up, to take on responsibilities they weren’t ready for? Do most parents know some siblings may have social stressors revolving around peers making fun of their autistic sibling, or the fact that they may not want friends coming over for fear of their sibling embarrassing them, or that they may have a hard time relating to friends because their life is so drenched in all things autism? There are a million and one ways autism might effect a sibling. So what I think the author was trying to say, and what I would like to echo, is that you just don’t know all the ways autism might be effecting your other children. You might find autism to be a huge blessing and a wonderful thing that should be celebrated, not lamented. But it doesn’t mean your other children feel that way. Be aware. Be alert. Be attentive. And never, ever, overlook or deny a sibling’s experience. And, like the article said, some great things just might sprout from your child having an autistic sibling.

Happy Birthday….to me!

29 Oct

Well, today’s my birthday. And this morning I got an awesome present from Sharon and Gracie over at Shout Out Online Magazine. Their November issue came out today, and they featured yours truly as the Sibling of the Month.


I was asked to be featured as Sibling of the Month a while back, and felt 1) So excited Shout Out Online Magazine exists! 2)So honored to be a part of it! And 3) So happy to get to share my story!

Shout Out Online Magazine is a monthly magazine for siblings of children with Autism. Their goal, “is to create a special place where siblings can go to express how they feel, to laugh, to cry, to feel inspired and most importantly…know they are not alone.

Their audience is mainly children and pre-teen readers. They feature articles about various topics; this month focuses on friendship. They have an “Ask Dr. T” section, quizzes, polls, book reviews, and a YOU Shout Out section for readers to join in and see their answers posted.

Shout Out Online Magazine brings siblings together, and let’s them know they matter and they are heard. Sharon and Gracie are doing an amazing thing, and I really am honored to be featured in their November issue.

 

Check out the article here.

 

And please feel free to leave some love for Shout Out Online Magazine. You can find them on Facebook here.

Sibling Resource- Part 1

17 Oct

I was googling some autism stuff over the weekend, as per usual, and I found this wonderful resource for siblings of people with autism.

Sibling Support Project strives to acknowledge, connect, and support siblings of those with special needs. They hold SibShops (workshops for siblings), they offer online groups tailored for each age sibling (child, teen, and adult), and educate parents on how siblings are affected.

Their mission is to “increase the peer support and information opportunities for brothers and sisters of people with special needs and to increase parents’ and providers’ understanding of sibling issues.”

Sibling Support Project realizes that a diagnosis doesn’t just affect one person, but rather the entire family.  They know that often times the siblings are the ones who will look out for a special needs person after parents pass away.  Sibling Support Project recognizes what an important role brothers and sisters have, and the believe, “the sibling relationship gives new meaning to ‘being there for the long haul.’ “

Please check them out here.

Siblings- Part 1

6 Aug

In the July/August edition of The Therapist magazine, Dr. Ira Heilveil wrote about the role of a Marriage and Family Therapist in the lives of those affected by autism. He discussed the ways each relationship within the family unit might be impacted.

Dr. Heilveil says siblings may:

-Suffer real or perceived withdrawal of attention from parents

-Engage in maladaptive or excessive “good” behaviors

-Fear that autism is contagious

-Fear that their own children will someday be autistic

-Grieve the brother or sister they wanted to have

-Feel ashamed that their sibling is not like the siblings their friends have

This is one of the many layers within the autism onion: siblings.

For me, there is fear for the future. My parents won’t be around forever, so what then? How will life be for me as a care-taker someday? There is an intense investment in my brother’s progress. The better he does now, the better off things will be then. There is pain, sadness, heartbreak. There is a sense of responsibility; I’m his oldest sibling. I’m trained in ABA. There is confusion. There’s anger when people don’t do right by him. Then there’s anger when his disability overshadows the needs of other family members.  There’s disappointment when others fail him. There’s frustration that I can’t do more to help him. Then there’s frustration when life revolves around him at the expense of other people. There’s pride in his accomplishments. There’s compassion and sensitivity. There’s hope. There’s joy in his affections. There’s just so many things. It’s a complex, tangled ball of emotions.

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