Everybody Is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters with Autism ISBN: 9781899280339
Published by National Autistic Society, 2001
There are six sections in this excellent book aimed at siblings of autistic children. Published by the National Autistic Society, it contains the kinds of information that children need to know about and will be of very real use in schools as well as in families. The first section explains what autism is, the general behaviour of people with it, and the fact that no one knows exactly why people have it. It could be genetic or due to brain damage, or due to different chemicals in the brain. Scientists continue to try to discover the reasons. The book also explains that there is no cure. The second section covers the three characteristics of autism: communicating, being sociable, and imagination and each of these areas is covered in detail. The third section, Odd Behaviour, asks and answers a number of questions such as siblings themselves might ask about their brother or sister: Why does my brother or sister throw or break things?; Why does my brother or sister like to be alone?; Why does my brother or sister like doing the same things over and over again? Why does my brother or sister jump, rock, tap, flap, or spin? There are many more questions, and all are answered as completely as possible. Section four is aimed specifically at the brother or sister of the autistic sibling. Called So How Are You Feeling, it deals with strong emotions that may occur, such as anger, feeling left out, wishing the autistic child had never been born. These feelings are perfectly normal and part of life in a family. Adults often expect more from siblings not affected by autism simply because they have to do so much with and for the autistic child that they are exhausted. While this is hard to accept, the fact that they find you responsible is good. You must, though, stand up for yourself and make clear your needs too. Make lists of good times and bad and discuss with parents. Also, you should have your own time, perhaps even away from the house, with your special person. It is also important that you have time to yourself. Privacy can be difficult with an autistic sibling in the house, and lots of good tips are given about how to handle this. The final bit of this section is about being embarrassed by your sibling. The suggestion is that you educate your friends about what to expect from your brother or sister, and in doing this, you are helping them to understand when they meet others with a disability. Importantly, you must always talk with respect about your autistic sibling. Section 5: Special Help - Schools and Therapies explains about special schools and precise ways they can help children who can't cope with mainstream schools. Various therapies are discussed: speech and language, art, music, drama, and sensory rooms. Section 6 is a Glossary, an index, and a list of organisations who may help. There are myriads of tiny pictures throughout the book showing siblings doing all sorts of things together, and these are reflected in the words on each page. This is a thoroughly useful compendium of facts, emotions, and tips on how to get along in a family with autistic ingredients. Highly recommended!