Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It is a unique experience to have a sister or brother with autism.  I am sure it is that way for anyone that has a sibling with different needs or disablities.  I have never been in that position, although growing up I saw it first hand from my neighbor girls.  I have three daughters, and Katie is in the middle.  My oldest daughter had only 2 years on this earth to herself, then shared 2 years with Katie before Autism came to visit (and another sister was born).  So my oldest daughter doesn't remember life without Autism being present, and my youngest daughter never had it.  I have always tried my best to not let Autism be in charge at our house.  My husband and I have gone out of our way to create a house that reflects "normal" as best as it can (whatever normal is).  I have made a point of getting my other daughters involved in dance and sports and school, where they can shine in their own ways, instead of just being "Katie's sister".

But sometimes i wonder.......sometimes I wonder how different their lives would be, sometimes I wonder if I am doing everything I can to avoid them resenting Katie for needing more, or for taking up more of our time, or for being dragged to doctors offices and therapys and "special needs" groups.  I wonder sometimes , when Katie is crying or having a tantrum, if they sit back and watch and get angry or sad or embarrassed. Right from the beginning of this journey, I tried to explain Autism to my children.  As they got older, I would give them more informtion as they grew in understanding.  They have seen me cry over Autism, more times than I care to admit.  But I am proud to say that they have also seen me laugh over Autism.  There is a running dialogue in our house concerning Katie and her diagnosis.  We have never presented it to them as something to be embarrassed about.  I have shared some of my struggles with them, so they know why I am upset or sad, but we have also learned to find many things about Autism amusing.  Nothing warms my heart more than watching my daughters all play together, laughing as they build forts out of couch cushions, or splashing in the pool.  If I never accomplish anything else in my life, I hope to at least raise 3 daughters who love and support each other, accept each other unconditionally, and share in the Adventures in Autism together.

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