God has blessed me with two lovely children, Sakshi, my daughter and a Special boy Surya. The age difference between the two is almost four years. When Surya my son was diagnosed with autism our perfect family suddenly seemed incomplete in-spite of having a daughter and a son. My daughter was 6 years old. She wanted to play with her brother. She would urge him to play with her but he was at peace playing with his own shadow. She would share everything with him but he would just take the toys and leave.
But every time my daughter would see me upset because of her brother’s lack of communication and interaction she would tell me not to worry. It was strange to see the courage and conviction shown by my daughter who believed that her brother would call her by her name and play with her one day. Slowly after six months of therapy and inclusive sessions with his sister, Surya started opening his world to her. He played catch, cook with her, and push toy cars while smiling at his sister. I could see the bond forming between them. By the time, Surya was five years old he began to associate every fun filled activity with his sister. He wanted to run behind her, skate, swim, and dance and going out on Vacations became fun. On one occasion when I took him to my daughter’s school to give her Tiffin he happily climbed the benches with her friends and had fun.
He came home giggling and threw a tantrum once we reached home, insisting on going back to school.
Our biggest concern was his “meltdowns” and behaviors which were typical to autism. No matter how badly he behaved with his little girl, she forgave him and displayed a level of tolerance and patience that was unusual for a young girl. Gradually his elder sister became his friend when he wanted to play and his little mother whenever I was not around. It was very touching and encouraging seeing how this bond motivated him to make efforts to integrate into "normalcy".
When he started speaking words he would call out her name loudly and clearly. The first time he did that his sister was the happiest sister on this planet.
Some valuable inputs our therapist shared with us that helped us form family ties are listed below.
- Never force either of the siblings to play with each other
- Gradually introduce the neurotypical sibling once a week in any therapy session of your Special Needs child.
- Only introduce easy and fun filled activities initially in therapy.
- Never shout at your Neurotypical Child even if he/she is angry with his/her Special Sibling due to a lack of adequate response from your Special kid.
- Be extra patient with both.
- Remember that you have been blessed with one life and you have to walk in two worlds, one regular and one very Special. So ground yourself, tread lightly, take that step forward and enjoy the company of both your little ones.
We all have one life to live and what better way to live it than bringing up, two different bundles of joy. Our children teach us something very valuable everyday as they grow up, there are priceless exchanges of unconditional love, patience, positivity, and hope between siblings, nobody outside of their world would ever know.