Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Impact of Autism on Siblings

Source: Washington Post, September 3, 2012

One of the least fun moments I recall from my years of growing up with an autistic brother was when he bit me on the cheek — just in time for my class photo. I was 12 and he was 11. I went into school with visible bite marks, and when they sat me in the chair for my solo shot, I told them that the cat had done it.

That’s one of the bad stories. As for a good one .?.?. um, to be honest, I have a hard time coming up with much.

I know that people are warmed by stories of siblings who selflessly shower the disabled child with love, attention and support. I think that’s great, too. And it’s for real for some siblings. But for many of us, relating to a sibling who is on the autism spectrum can be complicated. The challenges to a warm, close relationship are many. Normal sibling rivalry doesn’t work, because it can never be a fair fight.

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