After delivering the Autism Demystification® Puppet Program one day in a school in Vancouver, a little girl in Grade 2 quietly walked up to the lead guide. She said, “I really liked the puppets. I hope you can come back next year too.” The facilitator smiled at the girl and said she was glad that she liked the puppets, and the team would be happy to come back any time the school invited them.
The girl started to walk away, but then she turned and came back to the lead guide. She said, “I really want you to come back because my brother is 5. He’s coming to this school next year and he’s like the yellow-haired puppet” pointing to Angus the puppet with autism. “Sometimes he does some things and the kids don’t understand. I think if you came back, the kids in his class could do those things.” She pointed to the 7 Friendship Tips board. Then she added, “It will help my brother a lot.”
Siblings are a very important part of our lives. They are our family, our blood and often the people we grow old with. With them we share common history as well as a future. They are our first and sometimes our last playmates. They are often the people that teach us to be “good players”. Being the youngest of 4, I am very fortunate to say that my siblings did and still do that for me and I hope my three children do that for each other.
All siblings take on unique roles within a family. This is especially true for siblings of children with autism. They might become a sotto parent to their sibling, or even their biggest rival. Regardless of the dynamic, siblings (like peers) require demystification. Therefore, it is our job as parents and educators to provide Autism Demystification for siblings sake. To demystify we need to model, label, explain and normalize, as well as teach them prosocial communication strategies. This ensures that siblings have the information and skills they need to understand, accept and empathize with their siblings on the autism spectrum.
Want to learn more?
April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day! Take our Autism Demystification Online Course