When my youngest son was diagnosed with Autism, our world became all about him. My husband and I threw ourselves into all the research we could read to get all the help my son needed. But, in our quest to be the best Autism parents we could be, we forgot about thing: Our other kid.
Our older son is very outgoing, so much so that we sometimes assume that he can kind of take care of himself. He is the complete opposite of our youngest, so it’s easy to feel like he can do it all and be ok with that. But, we didn’t realize that Autism is hard on siblings too.
In the midst of having a child with special needs, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
It feels like every other day, I have a moment of thinking, “I just can’t deal with all of this.” And when you feel that way, it’s easy to put more pressure or stress on your other child to perform better. I’ve found myself expecting more things out of my older son, and it’s not fair of me.
He’s just a kid after all. He’s processing all this change the same as we are. Sure, maybe he doesn’t worry about the future like we do. But he’s still worrying about things, too. Like trying to understand the fact that his brother doesn’t interact with him the same as his friends’ siblings do. I know it makes him sad, and that makes me sad.
We’re all still learning. Learning how to not only understand our youngest, but how to sympathize and understand our oldest, too. All I can do is try and show them both that I love them, even if that is shown in very different ways. I don’t have all the answers yet, but I hope I can find the patience and strength to get there.