Our Autism Story – Day 18 – “A Sibling’s Perspective”
It’s tough being an autism sibling! Helena was 1.5 years old when Brahm was born and 3 years old when Brahm was diagnosed. Helena has really only ever known life with autism.
So many things are not fair for Helena. Brahm gets more attention than she does (out of necessity), we can’t go a lot of places her friends get to go, we have to unexpectedly leave activities and events if Brahm is having a meltdown, she has to live in the fishbowl with us and constantly have therapists and other people in her home, she doesn’t get to participate in many activities because we are tethered to our house and ABA, she suffers and has to watch the verbal and physical aggression, and she watches her brother behave badly while we hold her to a higher standard. And what is really heartbreaking is that at some point, she will likely be the one to take care of her brother.
However, we think Helena has so many good qualities because she is on this autism journey with us. Helena can be the absolute sweetest little lady. She can be patient with her brother. Helena knows how to talk to Brahm and make him feel better during meltdowns. She can tell when we are drained and steps in to give us a break, totally unprompted. She is very protective of Brahm. (Side story - When Helena was 4 years old, one of her best friends was making a not-so-nice comment about Brahm. Helena turned around and yelled, “Stop laughing at my brother!” I was beaming with pride!) Helena doesn’t really see or care about differences. (Side story – Helena came home from school one day and said “A friend at school has a puzzle piece, just like Brahm!” Helena didn’t even see it as a difference, but rather as a similarity between her friend and her brother.) We love our little lady to pieces and think it’s pretty cool that at only 7 years old, she is already changing the world with her kindness!
P.S. – Attached is a video of Helena describing Brahm using pictures she drew (we love visuals!). I love how Brahm shows interest when Helena talks about the things he likes!