Today, on World Autism Day, we ask for more awareness about autism. That is a great cause, and I want everyone to indeed become more aware. However, what I want today is to pay attention to the siblings of people (children and adults) with autism. Because their lives are affected by autism too.
The only experience I can talk about, is my own experience in my own family. I have one sister, 4 years younger than I am. When she was born, my mom and dad must have been very happy: finally a child that wanted to be hugged and held!
My sister Veer was a perfectly normal child, a bit overactive, sometimes as stubborn as a little mule (she would sit down in the middle of the road until she got her way….she wouldn’t be moved by any reasoning), but above all: very normal.
She was very different from me, with all my anxieties, melt downs and big mouth. It cannot have been easy for my parents or my sister, living with me. They would always have to consider what my reaction to a certain situation would be….if it didn’t go the way I wanted it to go….it usually didn’t happen. In hindsight, they always were very considerate about my needs, and they still are. And much less considerate about Veer’s needs.
So that is why I wanted to use this blog post to tell my sister: My dearest Veer, my darling sister, I am so truly blessed to have you as my sister. When we were children, you, four years my junior, would take me under your wings and make sure I had friends. Even now, you are still the only person I trust 100%.
My message for this special autism day is this: celebrate the role the brothers and sisters of children/adults with autism play in their lives. Recognise them by doing something fun with them, make them the centre of attention for once….I bet they’ll like it for a change!