Growing Up Invisible

My little brother was born when I was 5. I remember being so excited. It wasn't til a few years later I realized how different my brother was. My childhood consisted of siting in the hallway while my brother would have speech therapy or whatever other therapy he was having that day and reading. I was bitter and very jealous of him when I was younger. My mom was a single mother and only had so much time and most of that was directed at him. He didn't talk until he was 5 so we had picture cards all over the house and learning new signs daily. He did eventually begin talking (we now joke that we hoped and prayed to hard for it because it seems now that he won't ever stop talking) As a kid, I was really sensitive to kids making fun of him and secretively very happy we didn't go to the same school. At that age I don't think I had the words to explain what exactly was different about my brother. My mother was in the process of fighting doctors and trying to figure out exactly what was wrong with him and giving him a proper diagnosis. At 11 my mom got a boyfriend and it tuned our whole world upside down. He was a drunk and very verbally ad physically abusive towards all of us. He was especially mean to my brother. My mother was again stolen away from not only me but m brother too. He became mainly my responsibility and I did it all for him. Meds playing with him even laying inbed with him until he would fall asleep. 3 years later my mother attempted suicide because the man left her and my brother and I were too much fo her at the  time. i was taken to live with my dad and my brother was put in a mental hospital then foster care. That is the longest my brother and I wee apart. My mother thankfully got herself togethe and got him back. i was 18 when this happen. My brother began recieving personal assistant services. My mom suggested that I should get a job with him. I started working with my brother a little after I turned 18. I am now 21 years old and still spending 3 days a week with my brother. i also work with adults with autism. I am so thanful that I have him in my life. although we fight and I lose my temper with him sometimes I am glad we ended up so close. i'm not bitter at him or my mother anymore and know that it all happen to help me become a more patient and less judgemental adult.
brooke4289 brooke4289
2 Responses Aug 8, 2010

My story is similar. My brother has severe autism and to help my parents I got a job as his aide. :) I love taking care of him, and knowing that I'm helping my mom who suffers from depression, it's a great feeling. It's nice to know that there are others out there.

I am a developmental psych major at George Mason. My plan is to research typical children with autistic siblings so they can get the special help they need. No child should feel invisible and I want to make sure the world knows how difficult it is to be a sibling of an autistic child. I am working on a research project right now, I'll let you know when I get it all together. If you have any interest in participating in the online study when I get it started, please let me know. I do not have an autistic sibling, so I can't say I can relate, but I do empathize.