Friday, May 31, 2013

Autism Answer: The Sibling Connection

As I've often mentioned, I'm no autism expert. Who I am is a sister, daughter and mom of autism, which makes me something of an autism student!

Our home was uniquely balanced. There were eight kids, with four girls who were mostly able older than the four boys who were mostly less able. So us girls became mom's right hand ladies: babysitters, walkers-to-school, sharer of chores and all around brother-helpers. 

Our home was not only uniquely balanced, but also beautifully unique!

The world, and most of our neighbors, never liked us for long. We challenged them to change, to open their minds. My mom never allowed my brothers to be treated as little disabled boys. She expected them to be believed in as boys who were uniquely challenged to learn skills, and that the skills could be learned if the world would allow for unique answers. This, coupled with the very different places my brothers landed on the spectrum, often looked wild and weird. 

Also, the neighbors weren't fond of us teenage girls having noisy parties when mom worked. Oops! 

So siblings hear me when I say, I get it. We are put in a unique position and we don't always like it. We are looked at with pity and distaste and expectations, and don't always like it. But please also hear me when I say, we are the lucky ones! We are put in a unique position. So take advantage and love it! 

Helping my mom teach my brothers has made me a better person, a better daughter, a better sister and a better mom! I learned to see ability where others see none. I learned to follow clues and symptoms in order to find actionable answers! I learned to feel the love returned where others might fear it's lacking!

And now that we are all fully grown, I have four fantastic friends in my brothers. Yes, they sometimes annoy me as I'm sure I annoy them. Yes, they sometimes seem like work to me as I'm sure I seem like work to them. We are siblings. That's what we do. 

And because of each other we are better, happier and more successful. Siblings have a unique opportunity to connect with someone who truly knows them, and who truly loves them for who they are and who they've been. 

No matter who you are or who your sibling is, don't let that opportunity slip away. You may not become best friends in the end, but you can always be best siblings.

Trust me, it's worth it!!!
Hugs, smiles and love!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

My unique and fabulous family!!