Autism Siblings Need a Break Too

This week has been a tough week for Aiden. Not only has it been his last week at his much loved college but it’s also been his sister, Jasmine’s, 12th Birthday. Emotion overload!

Aiden really struggles with other people’s birthdays, to him it’s just another day. He can’t cope with the fact that plans will change, people will come to visit and someone else will be getting presents!

Jasmine on the other hand, loves her birthday and rightly so.

But it’s easy to forget that it’s not just Aiden that struggles with birthdays.

As a result of Aiden’s struggles, his siblings struggle too.

Jazz is in her first year of secondary school which is full of new children. There were only a handful of kids from her primary school that went up, so shes desperately trying to make new friends.

Jasmine’s birthday was drawing nearer, but every time I asked her what she would like to do for her birthday, she would change the subject or say, I’ll just do something with our family.

I suggested a sleepover with some friends but she was hesitant. After much probing she finally plucked up enough courage to say that she was worried about inviting her friends over because of how Aiden might behave.

Jasmine loves her brother and is incredibly proud of him. She always helps him, and is so patient and understanding towards him, but sometimes she deserves a break!

Jazz knew Aiden would be stressed about leaving college and on top of that she knew he wouldn’t be happy because it was her birthday, so didn’t want to make it a big deal and cause him anymore upset.

But that’s not a 12 year old’s responsibly, that’s ours!

I’m lucky enough to have my parents close by and they kindly offered to have Aiden for a sleepover for that night?

Friendships are so hard, especially when your 12, Jazz needed a night where she could be herself and not have to worry about Aiden dominating the house or saying inappropriate comments towards her new friends on their first visit to our house.

She said she felt extremely guilty for not wanting him there and I understand that’s so hard for her. I explained to her that it’s ok to feel like that because often I feel this way too.

I also explained that it’s no different to me having a night out without the kids and I definitely don’t feel guilty for this, I need that time. If she wants a night off from Aiden or all her brothers, that’s ok.

Often siblings understand far more than we give them credit for and try to tackle situations on their own.

Had I not pushed for her to have her friends over, she wouldn’t have. She never wants to do anything that will upset anyone else and she try’s so hard to do things to make my life easier. But by doing this means that she misses out on being a normal 12 year old.

It’s really important that she can tell me how she feels so that I (as the adult) can support her and try and release any burden that she may feel.

We make sure she has her own activities so she can have something else to focus on away from the house and she has her new Puppy, Buddy, as her room mate. We have Mummy and Jazz time, even if it’s a quick costa or a movie at home and this is really important. She needs to have the opportunity to speak to me without the others earwigging.

I can’t change the reality but it’s times like this that just reinforce the need for these breaks and remind me just how sensitive kids really are, no matter how grown up they seem.

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