Siblings: The Autism Spectrum Through Our Eyes ISBN: 9781849058292
Rensselaer, Anne Van and Johnson, Jane
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010
It must be tremendously difficult to be a member of a family with an autistic child, and for the siblings of such, even more so. In this book, we meet children who have a brother or sister (it's mainly brothers) with the condition, and we hear about their problems, their anger, their feelings of being left out, and, ultimately, their acceptance of the 'otherness' of the sibling. The book is divided into two sections: the first part is 'For Younger Children and Parents' and the second is 'For Teenagers and Parents'. The first section is much the longer and includes essays from children from 9 upwards, while the second section includes essays from 15 year olds upwards. Some of the entries in both sections are by people much older, but all are about how they felt about their siblings when growing up. Some of them include advice; others are a spilling out of their feelings. Some are short, while others are very long indeed. Some are beautifully, even lyrically, written; others are quite matter-of-fact. One of the most gripping essays is by Hannah Burke (15) who has two younger autistic brothers, and her explanation of life with the two little boys perfectly exemplifies the problems and the joys experienced. While there are two separate sections, I cannot see why 9 or 10 year olds could not get a great deal from the older stories as well as the ones aimed at the young. The participants are young Americans, proof, if it were needed, that dealing with autism is a universal problem. An excellent way of helping youngsters cope with challenging siblings. Available from Amazon, from good book shops, or from the publisher: www.jkp.com.
Age: 9+