Forgotten Child?

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So I follow a group on facebook called Autism Parents community  https://www.facebook.com/autismparentscommunity

It really is a fantastic group and I would recommend it to anyone.  Ian makes these fantastic posters and everyone of them hits home when I see it.  This one came out this week and it’s just so true.

As you probably all know Jamie is 9 and has High Functioning Autism, Dyspraxia and Sensory issues.  Joe is her younger brother of 7 who is NT.  Being the younger sibling he hasn’t known life be any different (which I think is probably a good thing).  He puts up with a lot and never moans or complains.  The amount of times his sister has hit, kicked, bit him or told him she hates him I can’t count.  He very rarely takes any of it to heart.

I often think he has grown up too fast, when I look at other 7 year old boys they don’t act as grown up as he does.  Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  He started playing football aged 3 for a local club because he could listen to and follow instructions.  He also got to start swimming lessons a year early for the same reason.  He actually wanted to do the swimming lessons to keep an eye on Jamie as she didn’t listen to the instructor and Joe want to keep her interested – it never worked!

He is a real enforcer, he will follow her to the toilet to make sure she flushes and washes her hands, he makes sure she eats her food (as she will often forget) if her room is messy he will tell her to tidy it up, he chases her round when she has been asked to do something making sure she doesn’t forget and that she does what she was told.  It’s pretty sweet but sometimes can cause problems, for example when she goes into her own world and ignores me, he will shout at her “mam is talking to you” and this goes on and on and no matter how many times I try to explain that she is in her own world and I will get through to her in her own way he will not have it.  He understands lots about her autism but I think he often forgets how things affect her.

He is very defensive of her and likes to explain about Jamie to his friends before they come for tea.  I remember once a boy came and he laughed that we had nappies in the bathroom (they were actually pull ups) and Joe told him matter of factly that “they are Jamie’s pull ups not nappies, don’t you know all kids are different!” Bless him.

They don’t play much together but when they do it is heart warming and lovely to watch.  It’s great when she is random too and he laughs his little head off!

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Joe tries to take an interest in the things that Jamie enjoys so that he understands when she talks (rants) about them, above he went horse riding with her this summer.  Sometimes he wishes she would take more of an interest in the things that he enjoys, like football but there isn’t much chance of that.  Once he broke my heart when he asked if I would have another baby so that when it grew up it would play football with him 😦

Last year Joe did the Mini North Run for his sister to raise money for The National Autistic Society.  We were so proud of him.

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3 thoughts on “Forgotten Child?

  1. My husband and I were just discussing this yesterday as we returned from vacation. So much of our time is spent keeping #1 safe and on task that the other two seem to have to manage themselves. Luckily, they too are younger and don’t know any different but it would be so nice to enjoy the entire family on a family vacation. I have to steal little moments with them when I can get it. The other thing that I am now seeing is that they are doing more naughty behavior because they see their brother do it and get away with it. He gets away with it because he doesn’t understand what he has done and his consequences are different, but in their eyes, they don’t see why they have different standards than he does.

  2. So much I want to say about being an older sibling of someone with this condition, but the truth is no matter if we are older or younger than the person living with the disability, they are still our family and we will be there for them no matter what ❤

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