Many of us parents, with ASD kids have to think about our typical children. Those siblings has to grow up fast and take on extra responsibilities. Rather if it is pushed on them, or they just take it on themselves, it happens sooner or later. It doesn’t just stop being more loving, understanding and more attentive toward the ASD sibling, but these siblings become their protector, and perhaps later on their guardians.
I had seen so much effort made by my daughter, and I heard many comments about how she will deal with her brother later in life. When I ask her why is she taking so many classes , her answer always been… ” I need a good education , a good paying job, so I can take care of Amin if he needs to be taken care of later in his life”. My stomach tightens, my heart aches, that she has to think about something so serious, and she is only 10 years old. I feel guilty many times, and I wonder will this hurt her later on.
I see many other siblings, boys and girls who take a huge chunk of responsibility to take care of their brothers and sisters now, and prepare to do the same later on. That is love, a real sibling love, A true feelings, that no one can cross unless they are on the same page with the typical brothers or sisters. They become the parent already in such a young age, and they are their brother’s and sister’s protectors. They feel more accountable for all their actions, they have to plan out many things in their lives according to their ASD sibling’s needs. They become more serious than their peers, and they have a heavy load on their shoulders from a very young age.
Their love and affection will never die for their siblings, and the ones they have these brothers and sister they are the lucky ones. They suffer, they lose friends, and they being ridiculed. All those afflictions that they have to experience, and still do not stop them to stand up for whats is right. Sometimes the ones that are closest to us hurt us the most, but the sibling’s love will withstand all weathers, even those most painful ones.
I like to share with you a post that a loving sister wrote. She is feeling the pain as she sees how her brother had been disrespected by the one who was close growing up with. I am sure many of you have some experiences to share, and I encourage you all to comment, and share your feelings and your thoughts.
Me, my thoughts, my brother…
Ignorance is bliss. You come to a point in life, where you realise you can’t reciprocate to each and every comment made towards your loved ones. But, in no way shape or form does this not mean that the comment didn’t hurt. Comments towards your healthy loved ones break your heart. But what about the nasty comments to your loved ones, who have limited abilities? They may not have the intellectual ability to respond or perhaps realise what is being said to them, but I do. Not only does it break my heart, it makes my blood boil. Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, other than my parents, siblings and me. So nobody should have the audacity to comment about my brothers ASD. They know nothing about him, nothing at all. My brother and I share a unique brotherly sisterly relationship; we care for each other and protect each other.
I cannot bear to imagine my life without him; he is full of energy, happiness and intellectual abilities. But when you do try to explain to someone that he has ASD, they think he’s some sort of retard with limited abilities. But is he? My brother is 22 years of age; he has been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome which is part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. This does not make him a retard nor does it mean he cannot understand vile comments and reactions towards his disorder. Fortunately, he has a high functioning ability, with an IQ above that of an average person. But people assume that ASD means he has some sort of mental condition. We have had comments such as ‘mental’ which actually makes you question the intellectual ability of the person making such comments. My brothers high IQ and functioning means he may understand some of these comments. But he smiles and carries on with life, he is a brave soul. But what about the rest of us? Those who he means the world to? It infuriates us. I may not have much experience in life, having just left my teenage years, but one thing I have learnt is not to upset or anger myself at such comments. Why? Because Allah has given me the strength to put up with them, and he only gives you what you can cope with. It makes my blood boil, but I will not cower in like some victim I will stand up for him.
Having been brought up into such a vile world, where people are full of ignorance you develop a thick skin. It’s only natural when you have that particular someone who looks to you for solace. Caring for someone with ASD can be challenging, but you should always count your blessings. I thank Allah that my brother is independent; I thank the Almighty that he has the ability to take care of his image and personal hygiene. When I care for him and I am more than happy to, in my opinion nobody else should chime in and give me their two pence worth. I have had a friend tell me that I should care for him less, that way I have time to study to my highest ability. According to her, I should drop everything and just study, study and study. But to me, my studying has little value in comparison to my beloved brother. I don’t mind if I have to drop everything to get him a drink, because he’s being difficult and only wants me to give him a drink. To me, it doesn’t matter if he wants me to get him a drink at 2am, I will because to me he is my world. I would drop everything, be it sleeping or studying, to go and see to him. I cannot bear to see tears escaping his eyes because someone treated him unfairly or said something bad to him.
So when someone has the nerve to abuse him through e-mails and this someone is a person who we grew up with, what more could it do but upset me? I have seen the e-mails she sent him, and said to him ‘you have a slow slow head’ and the classic ‘you’re just a schizi’ in reference to schizophrenia, which is a completely different condition – but perhaps she should look closer to home, before mailing him such comments. She has a 15 year old sister with the mental age of 3 year old. In no way do I hold a grudge against her little sister, but it anger me and makes me think about how vile the world is when I hear such abuse. If she had the audacity to abuse my brother, because of his ASD, then it does make me wonder how she treats her sister. It angers me, but anger is haraam, so what is one to do? You smile and carry on with life; the rule of the game is that you never reciprocate to the vile comments. You take it all in gracefully, and pray for them. Pray to Allah that he never gives them the problems you face, pray to him for their lack of intellect and also pray to him to forgive them. You do not reciprocate, because that just makes you as worse as them. It does make me wonder how they would feel if they had someone abuse their loved ones and if they had someone to care for with ASD? But it is best to leave the judging to the Almighty.
You cry your tears silently; you bite your tongue so as not to reciprocate, although it is easier said than done. I will not let anyone walk over my munchkin, neither will I let him come in harm’s way. Unfortunately, what I cannot do is control peoples mind, thoughts and tongue. May Allah forgive them.
If you want to know about the author of this heartfelt post you may go and visit her blog http://tutus-and-glitter.blogspot.com/
Faith plays a huge role in our actions, and that helps many of us to forgive, tolerate and conquer the obstacles that we come across with.