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HeARTs for Autism®
Supporting Families and Raising Awareness for the Autism Spectrum Disorders

Tips for Siblings

Written by Erika Candace Schwoyer, age 8

"Kevin would you please just stop!!!"

My brother has Autism. He is my older brother. He is 2 years older than me. I love my brother but sometimes he annoys me. Most of my friends say their brothers annoy them too. But Kevin and the Autism make it hard for me to understand sometimes. My parents spend lots of time helping him and teaching him. They get stressed alot. My parents do make special time for me. I like that. We go to the movies or to dinner or to bowling or shopping. But sometimes I am worried about Kevin. What is Autism? Will he ever stop being Autistic? My mom says Autism is a special way that Kevin thinks and feels and he will always have Autism. He can get better with some therapy, but the Autism is part of our lives.

Kevin has lots of funny things he says. He does try to play with me in his way. He loves animals, so I try to talk to him about that. We both love to paint, and we make lots of pictures.

Sometimes he gets upset. I go to my room to get away from the noise. Or I go find my other brother and we play together and try to ignore Kevin.

Sometimes Kevin whines and it bothers me. We ask him to stop and use his words or pictures to tell us what he wants.

Sometimes Kevin breaks my toys or just takes my toys without asking. It makes me really mad! My parents try to stop him and they try to fix broken stuff. I know he doesn't mean it. He likes to see how things are made and will pull them apart or take them apart. He likes my stuffed toys too. But he just likes to play with them, so I let him. He likes to be in my room. It is a girl room with pretty colors and I tell him to leave. But he likes to sit there with me. I love Radio Disney. Kevin hates it! It makes me mad when he gets upset because I want to listen to Radio Disney. My mom makes us find music we all like and we listen to that at home and in the car.

Autism can make it hard. Autism can be nice though. Kevin can really pay attention to a book and remember things we don't. He can be very quiet and gets excited when we have ice cream. He is good at spelling, but he needs help with math. I can help him. I know what pages he likes in his favorite books and give him those books when he is upset. He likes pizza and we like to watch him eat it real fast. He likes pretzels and I get them for him sometimes. Kevin likes to watch the same movies over and over. But he is happy, so it is okay. Kevin loves to swim and jump in the pool. I do too. Kevin is very nice to bugs and collects them. Some bugs I like but some are yucky.

My friends don't always understand Kevin. Some people are nice but some are mean. I don't want them to make fun of him. Kevin doesn't always understand the rules of our games. He gets upset and we get upset. Kevin has a worker who helps him. Sometimes she would try to make us all play together and teach Kevin how to play.

My brother has Autism. I love him. I want to help him.

Here are some tips to help you if your brother or sister has Autism. I use them when I get stressed and when I want to help:

Erika's Tips

1. Learn about Autism.
2. Don't be afraid. Ask your parents for help. Ask your teachers or grandparents too.
3. Help your brother or sister by finding what they like and find out what upsets them.
4. Try to be calm. I like to draw, or listen to music, or read, or meditate.
5. Talk to your parents. It is okay to be upset or cry. Tell them when you are happy too.
6. Find special things you can do with your brother or sister.
7. Find out what are the favorite things for your brother or sister and try to do that with them, like a game, movie,
     book or whatever they like.
8. Ask your friends to be nice.
9. Have special time away from home with friends or grandparents or parents.
10. Love your brother or sister all the time, even when they do things you don't understand or like.

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