You Don't Really Understand Your Autistic Sibling Until You're Ready To Understand

You Don't Really Understand Your Autistic Sibling Until You're Ready To Understand

Growing up, I knew my brother and sister were different.


Growing up, I knew my brother and sister were different. I have triplet siblings, two brothers and a sister. My middle brother was fine but my other brother and sister were different. At 3 years old, after having outburst at their preschool, my parents took them to a peadetrican and there was when they were both diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. My brother and sister are on the Autism spectrum but on different levels.

My sister, Andrea, has Aspbergers but she was still developing at a regular. She has emotional outbursts and always talked for long periods of time. She has mood swings that were understandable but are very annoying at times. But she is smart and goes to school like a regular person. My brother Louis, who we call Tata because he's named after our grandpa, was diagnosed with severe autism. He's nonverbal and his motor skills are minimal. To explain it in simple terms, he's a ten month old baby in a twenty year old's body. He has meltdowns everyday and would run across the room. He always covers his head by pulling part of his shirt over his head. He would hit himself so much that he would have to have gloves put on him so her wouldn't scratch himself because he hated having his nails clipped. We have to brush his teeth, give him baths, dress him, feed him. He can't do anything for himself. He requires 24/7 care or else he would tear apart the house or run off to God knows where. He's on medication now to calm his migraines so her would be less aggrivated.

As a kid, I not gonna to deny this, I was jealous of my brother and sister. They got most of the attention from our mom because they required more hands on attention. Meanwhile I was daddy's girl because he didn't want me or my other brother, Kevin, to feel like we were neglected. As a teenager, it felt like we were taking care of a pet when we had to watch him. I know that sounds horrible to say but for a thirteen year old, it felt like that to me. We didn't really have a close relationship with our mother until we were in our late teens. Before our dad died, there was a detachment we didn't know there was but after, we became closer and mended that broken tie. I started researching what Autism was as soon as a knew what the name was. Knowing what I know now, I get why my brother and sister acted the way they did.

Most of all, I understand how much my mom went through and how much she's sacrificed for my brother and my siblings. Why she would be tired and why she get mad. Why she would cry some nights and her and dad fought constantly. The strain it took on their marriage and why my brother and sister went to a different school while me and my other went to a regular public school. Being a parent is hard enough but raising two disabled children is even harder.

She was a stay at home mom for eight years before she went back to work. She does so much self sacrificing and I was so oblivious to it until I got older to understand what was going on. I want to take care of her more now because she's getting older. Right now, it's little things like taking her to lunch or buying her something she would put off. Taking care of an autistic adult is also a financial strain. My mom makes enough to care for my brother and take care of the house and herself but I always send her some money just to make it a little easier for her. She never asks but I want to take care of my mom now that I'm able to. Today, she works at a job she enjoys while still taking care of my brother but now has a caregiver in the house to take care of him while she's not at home. And we have so many family members who understand and help him in anyway they can. Whether it be watching him for a day or taking him to a doctor's appointment. We have a village behind us and will always be there for us in anyway possible.

People look at people with Autism or other mental disorders like Down's Syndrome and feel sorry for them and their families because they think they got the short end of the stick in life. And to that I say, "We don't need the sympathy.". People underestimate the strength people have to handle life's challenges. My mom is the strongest woman I know. Raising four kids, two of them being on the spectrum, and still managing to pursue her career is amazing. I'm so proud of her and hope to be half as amazing of a mother that she is. She raised four great kids and I'm so thankful for her.

I know a lot of people whose kids or family members are newly diagnosed on the spectrum. If I had to give any advice into how to respond or how to feel about the situation, I would say this. As a family, this is a change that will affect not just you as parents but also the person's siblings, grandparents, and immediate family.They are going to need more attention and your kids are going to feel a form of neglect. You and your spouse are going to have rough patches and may seaperate from each other. You're going to get tired and angry and feel like nothing is working and that's okay. It's going to be hard and you are doing the best you can. You are a good parent and a good brother or sister to him or her. It's constant learning but it will be okay.

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15 Things You Know To Be True When Your Sibling Is 10 Years Younger

Being a big sister is the best job.

Growing up with one other sibling I had always grown to want another one. I mean, who wouldn't? When I was nine, my brother and I begged and pleaded for one.

Little had I known my mother was already a few months pregnant. When she made the big announcement though, I was certain she was going to tell us our family was going to Disney World; so hearing I was having another sibling didn't seem as exciting as I had originally thought.

However, having a younger sibling so much younger than I am has been so much fun. Granted, I changed so many diapers, gave bottles, and entertained him as much as I could over the years, I wouldn't trade him for the world (well, maybe another trip to Disney).

Here are some things that tend to happen when your sibling is 10 years younger than you:

1. Growing up you turned into what your parents loved to call the "free babysitter."

Let's be real, that was such good practice for being a babysitter for other families. I mean, at 10 years old I was already a pro at feeding babies, changing dirty diapers, and pretty much knew all there was to know about dealing with a baby.

SEE ALSO: When You Give A Girl A Brother

2. People give you weird looks, thinking you're the mother.

I'm just his sister, I promise!

3. They get away with more stuff than you did as a kid.

Mom definitely didn't let me do that when I was little... not cool.

4. Sometimes you slip and act like the mother.

"If you don't do it, I'm taking this from you and you're in big trouble!"

5. During Christmas you're up at the crack of dawn because they're so excited to see what Santa brought.

But seeing their face when they walk downstairs makes it all worth it.

6. You still fight and mess with each other.

Of course you win. Age is definitely a factor.

7. You start to realize they're not a baby anymore and they know how to do pretty much everything at this point (including knowing the password to your phone and playing on it).

Now I'm understanding why my mom would yell at me to stop growing up.

SEE ALSO: 8 Things To Thank Your Mom For

8. You start to see all the wonderful qualities they got from you.

Honestly he's pretty much a mini me, and great at basically everything.

9. Then you start to see, not only is he good at what you're good at, but he also excels at things you suck at.

It's okay, he makes up for all the things I didn't do well. You're welcome, Mom and Dad.

10. You always have a little buddy to hang out with and duet with in the car.

It's crazy how many songs he picks up from the radio, that or kids-bop.

11. They FaceTime you at college telling you about their day in elementary school.

This is honestly one of the best parts about being a big sis, its precious.

12. You're not ashamed an 8-year-old is one of your best friends.

He would be yours, too, if you knew him.

13. You've done the math several times in your head about how old you'll be when he graduates from high school (almost 30). I don't want to talk about it.

It's okay, don't freak out, age is just a number.

SEE ALSO: 9 Things Girly Tomboys Know Too Well

14. Your friends even think he's cool, and he is basically friends with all of them.

He might be more popular than me with them.

15. You wouldn't trade them for anything and know how much of blessing they are in your life.

I love being a big sister to you, dude.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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8 Things Growing Up In A Family With Double Sisters Has Taught Me

Being there for my little sister the way my older sister is there for me is a full-time job, but is probably the most rewarding thing ever.


I'd like to start this off by saying I give major props to my dad, living in a household with me, my mother, and my two sisters definitely is stressful. (but according to him he wouldn't have it any other way). Sure, at times, they are the most difficult people to deal with in the world, but I honestly do not think I would be the person I am today without my sisters.

Over the past 18 years, I've learned a couple of valuable lessons from my sisters that come in handy in my day-to-day life.

1. How to argue (and how to win an argument)

I can safely say that nobody you meet you will fight you harder than one of your sisters. Whether it be physically as kids, or verbally now, I've never been met with a fiercer opponent than one of my sisters. Arguing with a sister is a whole entire different situation than arguing with a friend because not only do they know literally everything about you, they are not afraid to use it.

After 18 years of arguments, I can safely say that I've mastered the art, knowing when it's not worth it, and when it is. But no matter how badly we argue, you can probably find us on our way to get food five minutes after or engaged in a duet during our favorite song.

2. How to support someone and hype them up when needed

Having a sister is essentially having a constant hype woman. They're always there to support you through everything (and help convince your parents if needed). Growing up with two sisters has fully made me the hype woman I am today.

3. How to be there for others

As the middle child, I've had the honor of not only being both a little and big sister. Being there for my little sister the way my older sister is there for me is a full-time job, but is probably the most rewarding thing ever. Having someone come to you looking for advice and trusting you enough to actually follow it is probably one of the nicest things ever.

Because of how important I find it to be there for others, I'm able to apply that to not only my sister but also my friends and acquaintances. Trust me, it's not easy for someone to admit to others they need help, so having someone come to you actively seeking your help and your company is the nicest feeling ever.

4. How nice it is to have someone there for you

Yes, you can always turn to your friends or your parents when you need someone to talk to, but there's really nothing better than sitting in your sisters' room and talking about literally anything in the world. I'm a middle child, so luckily I have an older sister that has gone through the similar, if not the same, things as I have. She's able to give me tips and insight that I'd never have. Coming to college has made us so much closer because not only can we relate to each other a little more, but she loves to hear about my life and in her words "relive her freshmen year vicariously through me"

5. How two (or three) closets are better than one

As I'm sitting here typing this I have to say that the thought of my sisters having complete access to all of my stuff at home makes me a little annoyed. But I can safely say that having access to more than one closet really comes in handy when you're in a time crunch for an event (or if you're just super tired of wearing the same sweaters).

6. How working together is better than working separately

Whether it be finishing chores early, planning gifts or parties, or just trying to convince your parents to do something, you'll quickly find that having a sister, or partner in crime, is so much nicer and more fun than doing it alone.

7. How to be an individual

As a middle child, I am constantly compared to not only my oldest sister but also my youngest. And while it's typical for others to lump us together (I mean we're sisters) it can get annoying at times. Growing up with sisters (especially ones that look very similar to you) teaches you how to grow out of your shell, by encouraging you to find your own passions, and become an individual.

8. How to set an example for others

Whether you're the older or younger sister, I can promise you that your sisters are looking up to you. You're both going through different paths in your life and picking up valuable lessons along the way. I can guarantee that as you go through similar experiences your sister is going to look to you for advice on how to handle it.

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