As the sister of a younger brother on the Autism Spectrum, I'm often asked what it was like for me growing up. I'm sure my response has changed over the years, and will continue to change as I grow, reflect, and take on new challenges and adventures as a, now, adult sister of an adult with autism.
But for today, let me say that I had a really great childhood. I am five years older than my brother, which was enough age difference for me to understand there were differences in how I needed to interact with him, but not enough for me to understand that our relationship was any different from any other sibling relationship. We played outside, took family roadtrips, watched movies – or at least watched his favorite parts of movies on repeat – and for the most part, I got to be the in-control older sister. If it wasn't a typical childhood, I didn't really know any differently at the time.
Sure there were tough moments, but not all – not even most – were a result of my brother's disability. And some of the tough moments were probably actually great ways for me to learn lessons that I now cherish as an adult – like perspective-taking, patience, and humility.
So when I came across the blog post below, I was interested to read Karen Wang's list of ‘20 benefits of being a sibling of a child with special needs.' For me, I'd probably have a few different things to put on this list. And a few more to add. But her overall message is spot on – I wouldn't trade my relationship with my brother for anything.
(And for more of my blog posts, check out: http://mostimportantlysister.com/)