I asked my daughter what it was like to be the eldest sibling of a brother with autism and a sister with an undiagnosed condition. Her reply is below and it broke my heart;
I love my sister and my brother but I don’t like being their sibling sometimes. I don’t like having to do everything in my brothers time and way. I don’t like when he has a meltdown as he scares me that he is hurting my mummy and my daddy. I don’t like the fact he doesn’t understand that doing things hurts my feelings.
I don’t like the fact my sister falls over so much, I don’t like the fact that I can’t make her laugh too much otherwise she can’t breathe, I don’t like the fact that mummy and daddy have to take her to hospital a lot. I don’t like the fact that people don’t know when she is going to do things like walk. I don’t like the fact that the room goes silent and mummy and daddy are crying while they are talking about her and they put on their fake smiles.
I do however LOVE the fact my brother can do the best roar when we are playing dinosaurs, I love the fact that I always know where he will be after school and he likes watching the same programmes as me. I love the fact he can ride his bike fast like me. I like the fact he lets me hold his hand and no one else can.
I love the way my sister smiles. I love the way my sister does things like clap and we all get so excited! I love the fact I can cuddle her when she is having a good day. I love the fact I can make her stop crying with my funny dancing.
I don’t like being a sibling to them as it is hard, but I love them and they are my brother and my sister and I will protect them as long as I can, and although it is hard, I wouldn’t change them for the world.
When I heard her say all the negatives I was so upset and then she turned around and said all the positives, I realised I don’t give her enough credit! I find living and caring for disabilities tough and very stressful but I never think about the siblings, and how actually it is really hard on them too. I am just so glad that like us she wouldn’t change them for the world and the positives outweigh the negatives.