I thought about this a lot, and then it came to me. Why not spotlight a sibling each month, and ask them the same questions, and see how they feel. Good or bad. I wanted to know if this is true. I wanted to hear it from the mouths of siblings.
I came up with some questions, and reached out to my step son. Now, he doesn't live here full time, so his answers may vary from a sibling who lives full time with their autistic sibling. His answers matter just the same, and I was so proud of what he had to say.
So, without further ado, I present to you, Branden, age 16 and January's Spotlight Sibling.
Q: I read an article that stated that sibling of autistic kiddos feel like “victims.” Do you feel like a victim of a brother with Autism?
A: "At times I do. Sometimes it's hard because I don't know what to say or do with him."
Q: In your eyes, what is the HARDEST part of being a sibling to an autistic brother?
A: "I'd have to say the hardest part is watching what and how I say things. He is very sensitive."
Q: What is the BEST part?
A: "He is special, one of a kind and I love him."
Q: Do you resent Autism? If so, Why?
A: "No, because I feel it makes people more special and gives them more personality."
Q: How has having a brother with Autism changed your life?
A:" It makes it so I can't play certain video games or watch certain movies or shows because it either scared him or makes him think bad." (Liam ruminates a lot when something upsets him.)
Q: Has Autism taught you anything?
A: "Autism has taught me to stand up for others when they are being teased for being different."
Q: Do you think educating other kids about Autism is important? If so, Why?
A: "Yes. Some people just think someone with Autism is "stupid" or "bad" and they aren't."
Q: If you were given the opportunity to speak to your school as a whole about Autism, what would you tell them?
A: "That kid's with Autism are cool. Most of them are smarter than us. Lots of them are also very good at video games."
Q: Kids with Autism are 4x more likely to be victims of bullying. If you saw someone bullying a child with Autism, what would you do?
A: "I would tell the bully that it's not right to tease someone because they are different. My brother has Autism too and it's NOT right."
Q: If you had to write an essay about Autism, tell me, in a few words what it might say?
A: "Autism is a neurological disorder, and 1 in 88 people have Autism. Autistic people are special."
Q: Here is your chance. If I left anything out, and there is something you want to add about Autism (it can be positive or negative) feel free to write it here.
A: "When you're in a store and a kid is acting "bad," you shouldn't judge them. That kid may have Autism like my brother."
There you have it. From the mouth of an Autistic sibling. I have to say I am very proud of his answers, and I think I am doing a pretty good job of teaching him about Autism. (yep, tooting my own horn a bit, beep beep beep!) :)
This is his "Breakthrough the Stigma" pic I took of him. This is the one thing he chose to say to others :)
Stay tuned, next Spotlight Sibling will be in February.