Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

How do I tell my children about their brother?

Posted by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM
  • 15 Replies

My youngest child who is almost 3 was diagnosed in June with ASD.  I also have a 5 year old girl and 7 year old boy.  They still don't know about their little brother having Autism.  My husband and I never sat them down to tell them the news.  They see him go through all his therapy every week but I've always just said that he just needs a little help with his speech and just played it out like that.  I don't talk about all the other issues he has that they work on.  They also know when he turns three he will stop early intervention and go to a school. They don't realize it's a "special" school just for him and kids like him.

When I thought I would tell them about their brother I bought a book titled "My Autistic Brother".  I still haven't given it to them.  I don't know what I'm waiting for.  I guess I don't want them to worry about him.  But sometimes when my little one goes into sensory overload and he becomes aggressive toward them I wish I could just tell them so they can understand him better.  I'm sometimes afraid they will think he's just a brat.  And he's not.  He can't help himself.  But will telling them make a difference?  Will they truly understand what that means?  How do you explain Autism to a 5 and 7 year old?  How do you tell kids that some kids' brains are wired differently? Should they even know?  I guess maybe I just want to do or say the right thing but I don't really know what that is.

Has anyone gone through telling the siblings?  How do you handle it?  What reaction did you get?

by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
newmommy430
by Silver Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I am a sibling of a autistic person. My brother was diagnosed with autism around 5 years old. He is now 27.

I think your children may handle it much better than you think. Actually, most children can handle these things better than adults.

There are so many resources now than there was when my brother was diagnosed. You can start off just explaining to them in simple terms. You can then show them the book. Answer any questions they have.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
smarieljlee
by Sara on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM
1 mom liked this
Explain it little by little. When it comes up use the moment To explain what is happening...or happened. Let them ask about it and answer them.
A 7 year old understands autism. I had a classmate of my daughter tell me about her brother that had a disorder similar to autism. Her words and she is 7. She was very compassionate and wanted to talk about it
mamalove43
by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Thanks for the advice.  At least they already know he has trouble with speech and I'm sure they notice how out of control he can be at times so maybe that's a good start.  It may not be as much of a shock when we talk about what's really going on.

Thanks again!

Blue231
by Bronze Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM
1 mom liked this
My Dd is seven and has known about her brother's dx since she was little. She is our younger child. We've brought it up gradually over the years. I think I mentioned it to her when he was first dx and she was a toddler. It didn't mean too much to her then. I just wanted it to be like a normal, natural part of our life. I mention things about ASD after moments my son has had difficulty or after moments he has success. I don't bring it up all the time, just occasionally. She understands it and it helps her understand some of what he goes through. His ASD affects her life at times and she knows she can talk to me if she has any questions or concerns. On the flip side Ds knows things about Dd, like a couple of physical health problems she has had. I try to help them both understand everyone has their own challenges and successes. We try to emphasize the success with both of them. A want my daughter to see all of the positive things about my son's Dx, like his wonderfully unique ways of seeing the world. I also want her to learn compassion in his difficult moments. I want him to learn things about her as well. They are very close. I think they have the potential to be a great comfort to each other throughout their lives. Good luck with you discussion with your kids. I think you will find it to go well.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
stonecold316
by New Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM
3 moms liked this
I have 4 children, my little one is 7, he is autistic and non-verble. My other children at first , always asked what's wrong with Nick, why is he like that? So I started answering there questions as best as I could. Then I took them to his school let them look around and talk to his teacher to help explain a little about what he does at school. That seemed to help them understand a little more, All three of his siblings now get mad at other kids when they something negitive about Nick, they tell them he is not a brat he is my baby brother, he has special needs and is great.



aakeiser
by Silver Member on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM
1 mom liked this

We explained to my 5 year old daughter that her older brother is a little different.  One way to help explain is if you have a walk for autism in your area join and tell them its for their brother.  I will tell you they know and understand better than we do most of the time. There is books out there, you can use one of those..I haven't read them, but I know there is a few out there just for this. You don't have to go into great detali at this point.

kajira
by Emma on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM

my 8 1/2 year old is autistic and know si'm autistic. we are pretty honest around here. as my daughter ages, she will know both her brother and I are autistic. It comes with some difficulities for siblings (and spouses) to be with an autistic person, but I believe that having open communication about it, can allow them to make sure they feel like they can discuss it openly, both the good AND the bad.

being autistic is also not an excuse to treat your siblings like crap, and we have made that clear since day one with our son... and we will ensure our daughter knows if he's doing anything, she can talk to us about it so we can help resolve and problem solve.

if/when we adopt special needs kids, we will have the same approach with open communication. It's hard to be tolerating and patient if you don't know what you are dealing with and kids are smart.


Kittie26
by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Aly is an only, so I haven't gone through it, but I knwo my sister has only told my 13yo step-nephew. Those 6 and younger are not aware of the condition becuase they just view her as her cousin. I think siblings of SN kids though are always pretty aware that something is different. If they ask, be honest. If what you're doing is working, stick with it for now. (I'm no help, I know)

mamalove43
by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Wow, that was very well put.  Thank you for sharing your story with me.  I love the way you described to your children how everyone has their own challenges.  Everyone is truly different in their own way, with all things. I will definitely point that out to my kids.  My middle child has had a rough road through her first 4 years of life and my 7 year old knows all about that so that will be a good example for both of them.  Thanks for giving me a great way to start!

mamalove43
by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM

I think that's a great idea that you let them go to his school to see what he does there and what they are doing for him!  My son will be starting the disability preschool this month when he turns three.  I already started telling my 7 year old he's going to a special school to continue getting help with speech and help with some of the ways he behaves.  I never thought to actually take them there to see it.  Once my youngest is settled in his new routine at school I will definitely take them there to see it. Thanks for the great idea!!

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)