As I was rolling out the pie dough last evening, a voice of a sibling of an adult with autism was being interviewed. The thirty year old man talked about how his childhood revolved around his non-verbal brother and how the family life was decided on one factor, his brother. Whether the family went on a trip or went to the store was all based on the brother and as I listened the words spoken faded away and all I heard was anger.
Anger over not having a typical childhood, anger over not getting attention, and anger now about soon having to care for his brother. My husband, Peter (who was also listening to the radio interview) chimed in and said "that was interesting, don't you think?" Still rolling the pie dough, I stopped, and said, "No, i think it was sad."
Sad because I could feel the negative energy flowing through the radio; I almost turned off the radio in the middle of the interview. As I listened more, I reminded myself of all the families I have met and how hard they are working to balance family life.
We have come so far in creating a family life that supports all members, however the interview made clear how important it is to not make autism the center of the family. Sometimes that may mean deciding not do a therapy or an autism event, so that the whole family can thrive not just one member.
In thirty years I want my children to reflect back and remember the camping trips we took, the special movie nights, or the hikes in the forest, not us running around to this occupational therapy or that speech therapy appointment.