Guest Blog

The Other Child: Reflections of a Mother of an Adult Autistic Son

12 Aug 2015 by Jason's Connection
Image of family:

From time to time, we like to invite guests to share their stories with us. Today’s guest blogger is an anonymous mom.–Ed.

In the past sometimes I was so occupied with my autistic son when he was a young child I wasn’t always as focused on my other children. Not that they weren’t loved or given a lot of affection and attention, but they always seemed “fine” and not in overt need of me in the same way that their youngest brother was.

This was especially true of my eldest daughter who also appeared to be a happy-go-lucky, independent, self-sufficient girl. But now she is going through big life transitions of her own in finishing her higher education, and moving to an unfamiliar city with hopes of a new future, friendships, and career.

It struck me how not only does she need me, but also the rest of the family, and in particular my autistic son, share in that extra needed attention and support, to see how she is doing and to ask, “Do you need anything? How can we be there for you?” She has always cared about her family, her siblings, and particularly has a profound caring for and confidence in her youngest brother, whose abilities and potential she felt were greatly underestimated. Now it is her turn to need extra support during this time of transition, trepidation, and the normal anxiety of great change and uncertainty in this new chapter of her life.

And this has not just been a parental recognition; our son has recognized this as well and has risen to the occasion to support, comfort, and rally behind his sister big time! He recognizes from his past struggles and supports received that others go through their challenges as well. This is the shared human experience. His struggles have given him strength, with a great capacity for empathy for others. His compassion and support have moved us all, particularly his sister, who feels his love and support at her time of need. It has been made clear that through our family’s ups and downs, and the many uncertainties that all families go through, we have gained greater understanding and respect for each other individually, and in the process we are brought that much closer together.

—A Mom