Being there for our loved ones with disabilities comes with many responsibilities. Of course, there are many ways to cope, but they can impose an additional set of demands and challenges on loved ones. So recently, Redditor Fabulous_Litchi_8469 taken from the community “Am I The A-Hole” (AITA) ask people for advice after having a heated argument with his family.
The 18-year-old recently secured a spot in a prestigious art exhibition that she worked very hard for. But as much as she was excited to share her work with everyone around her, she refused to invite her parents and her autistic sister. As you can guess, this decision sparked tons of drama between her and the other family members.
“[My sister’s] really smart (she went to an Ivy League school!) but doesn’t do well with social cues,” the user wrote, immediately adding that it often affects how she treats her. It turns out that her sister is constantly putting her down and looking for opportunities to say something mean. The post caused quite a stir in the community, so be sure to read the full story and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Recently, an 18-year-old told how she entered a prestigious art exhibition and refused to invite her autistic sister because she “always brings her down”
Picture credits: yeonhee (not the actual photo)
Laura Cavanagh is a professor of psychology and behavioral sciences at Seneca College in Toronto and has extensive experience in clinical practice with people on the autism spectrum. She said bored panda that there are many common myths about autism.
“A lot of people think of someone locked in their own world or completely disconnected from other people. And I think a lot of people mistakenly think that people with autism are non-verbal or have intellectual disabilities,” she said. .
According to Cavanagh, the main deficit of autism spectrum disorders is difficulty in social communication and social impairment. “But that doesn’t mean people with autism aren’t ‘social’, or don’t want social relationships, or don’t feel deeply connected to the people in their lives.”
Rather, it suggests that navigating social situations is difficult for them, so understanding and following the written and unwritten rules of social relationships and interactions is a challenge for people on the spectrum. “Using language for social communication purposes is difficult – even if the individual has a range of vocabulary in the upper percentile!”
“The other essential characteristic of autism spectrum disorders is a restricted or repetitive repertoire of interests or behaviors. The commonly held stereotype that many people imagine is rocking or clapping. obsessive about an obscure or unusual subject Sometimes individuals will insist on routine and uniformity and may seem rigid and inflexible Many are hypo- or hyper-reactive to sensory stimulation, so things in the environment can seem too loud, too bright – or too easy to ignore,” Cavanagh added.
Unsure of her actions, she turned to the AITA community to ask people if she had gone too far.
Picture credits: Keira Burton (not the real photo)
Picture credits: Fabulous_Litchi_8469
It can be heartbreaking to know that the celebration of your new milestone and accomplishments might be clouded by insensitive remarks from one of the closest people you have in the world. Professor Cavanagh is keenly aware of the emotional toll people on the spectrum can take on their loved ones and the dilemma of understanding it. “The social impairments of autism can sometimes make it difficult for people on the spectrum to maintain social relationships, and these social deficits can sometimes make their behavior difficult for others to understand,” she noted.
“It’s not that people with autism don’t care about others, but their difficulty following social rules can make it seem like they do,” she said and added that they can sometimes be direct in their style of communication. “Their restricted range of behaviors or activities can make it difficult for them to show interest in things that are important to others.”
However, it is important to remember that people with autism are not defined by their disability. Cavanagh pointed out that they have all the complexities and range of traits that characterize the human experience.
“Like anyone else, someone can be extroverted or introverted, conscientious or free-spirited, reserved or playful, shy or daring. And so this woman’s sister, regardless of her autism, can be a Difficult person! Well, if there’s one thing that many of us know very well, sibling relationships are complicated. It’s not that unusual for there to be tension between siblings. adults,” the therapist mentioned. “It’s entirely possible that the sister is being mean and putting her down — not because she’s autistic, but because she’s a person in the world and some people can be mean !”
Trying to find a healthy solution to a family conflict when people throw accusations without caring about the world is far from an easy task. But while sibling relationships can sometimes sour, Cavanagh said having a disabled sibling has its own gifts and challenges. “Siblings of people with disabilities have higher rates of emotional problems, anxiety and stress. They often feel that the needs of their siblings take precedence over their own.
“Unlike parents, siblings don’t get much support from professionals or family members,” the professor told us and emphasized the importance for parents to see the experience from the perspective of view of each child. “Siblings are often overlooked and may feel like they have no say in family decisions. They may feel the pressure to be perfect to avoid further stressing their parents, or they may feel they have to act to get attention at all.
Here’s what people had to say about this whole situation
How siblings form their relationship is out of parents’ control, therapist says
“I think for parents, it’s also important to understand that adult children have to make their own decisions whether we agree with them or not,” Cavanagh explained. “A parent may disagree with the choices of their adult children, but they should respect them. And while a parent might wish the adult sibling relationship was different, it’s really beyond their control. And attempts to deal with it will likely backfire.
Dealing with family disputes, especially when they involve a loved one with a disability, can sometimes be overwhelming. Professor Cavanagh advised parents to focus on their children’s feelings. “If they want to explain each sister’s point of view to the other, they can do that. Since they’re a bit removed from the situation, they may be able to provide insight into the other sibling’s experience without it getting too heated or personal.
Additionally, she suggested paying more attention to solutions. “If the artist chose not to have her family at the premiere, that’s her decision,” she said and provided some helpful questions to consider: “Could she arrange a visit private for the parents and sister at another time? A taste of the event? Another special moment they could pass?
“Finally, I would advise respecting the decision of the adult child. This story is as much about learning to respect the autonomy and boundaries of our family members, whether we agree with them or not,” Cavanagh concluded.