Advice from the older brothers of a kid with autism
I was talking to Younger Teen (YT) today and we were both trying to figure out what Zach wanted, since sometimes his speech makes it hard to understand what he is wanting from us. Today Zach was wanting YT to play a game, finally we ended up having him show us. Getting there was interesting though. It often is. I decided to ask him and one of his older brothers a question, If you had someone come to you who had a sibling just diagnosed with autism what things would you want to tell them. These were their responses.
Advice from the older brothers of a child with autism
- Remember schedule is important.
- Never underestimate what they can do.
- He will obsess over things, let him, don’t fight it.
- Sometimes he just needs to be left alone.
- It’s only autism, yes it is scary but it isn’t as bad as you think.
- Don’t mess with his patterns
- If you play a video game with him prepare to play it until Mom makes you stop, then let her deal with the meltdown.
- He will always love you more than you think, even when he has a meltdown.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for translation, if you don’t understand ask Mom (or Dad) for help.
I want to add one more, one from me, that when I ask my kids deny, but I see it in them sometimes.
- Even if you feel like your sibling with autism gets all the attention, your parents still love you and always will.
I hope they all know this every single day, I try to make an effort to show them. To let them know when they have a problem, I will be here, even if it takes me a few minutes.
Little by little things get easier as you learn, things take less time, less attention and less stress. It gets easier for everyone. You learn what helps them, what they want and need. Even with they are nonverbal or minimally verbal. There are cues, signs, ways to understand. That each cuddle, touch and each action has a meaning. You learn that touching foreheads means I love you. Cuddling a certain way can mean I am sick, and another way means I know you are sad and I am here for you. One stim means he is stressed and the same stim but slightly different means he is happy. There are a million ways to “talk” words are just the easiest ones most people to understand.
A special thanks to Joel, Carl and YT.