I’ve been reading a lot lately about the effect that autism can have on a sibling. Strangely it isn’t something that I had ever really thought about until an article popped up on my Facebook feed.
Just after an autism diagnosis the focus is purely on the child that has been diagnosed but what’s it like for the siblings? It can’t be easy seeing their brother or sister get all the attention, or having to deal with aggressive behavior from their sibling.
I know that siblings of children with autism are at higher risk of having autism themselves, but that isn’t really my concern with Evie. She shows none of the signs that Max did and at three years old, I think (hope) that if there was a problem I would have seen it by now.
Siblings are also more likely to have behavioral problems which is something that I am very concerned about. Evie sees Max’s meltdowns, his answering back, his inability to follow instructions and his hyperactivity and I can’t help but think that this must be having an impact on her. She does already pick up bad habits from him and she copies everything he does, and I worry that this will escalate over time. I try my very best to not let Max get away with things, he is disciplined when it’s necessary and I can only hope that that will be enough to keep Evie on the right tracks.
They are just kids at at the moment and Evie doesn’t see him as anything other that her big brother and her best friend. But inevitably as she gets older she will at some point realise that he is different, and what happens then?
My biggest worry, not just for Max but for both of them, is bullying. I hope and pray that Max doesn’t get bullied at school but unfortunately the facts are that children with autism are often targeted by bullies simply because they are different. If he is bullied this may have a knock on effect to Evie because her brother is ‘weird’.
One article I read talked about siblings being embarrassed of the sibling with autism and not wanting to be associated with them. And although I can understand this to a certain extent, the thought of it breaks my heart.
At the end of the day, we don’t have a crystal ball, all we can do is our best with them and wait and see how things work out. Hopefully they will both get on fine and there won’t be any problems at school but until then there is always that worry there.
Please do leave a comment if you have any experience with this.
Thanks for reading 🙂