Complex

Complex

A Story by Kelley T
"

Life from the perspective of a special needs child's sibling.

"

Autism, though a disorder generally thought as an affliction that is restricted solely to the diagnosed individual, has its ways of snaking out and affecting those around them without the slightest effort.


The primary caretakers would undoubtedly be the most shaken by the diagnosis of their child, not only due to having to adapt their lives to accommodate a new human being, but a special needs one at that.


While attention is rightfully directed towards the Autistic one, first and foremost, with the parents often given their own consideration and care through support groups and specialists, pre-existing children are often over-looked.


As the older sister of an Autistic young man, I have had the past fourteen years of my life to observe the hideous effects Autism has on a individual: the lack of self-control, the struggle to focus and learn, and most heart-wrenchingly the inability to understand how they're different and why they're treated thusly. Because of an unfortunate luck of the draw, this is the description of my brother in a nutshell. This objective perspective makes it easy to understand why he requires the undivided attention he often receives, although the filling of one void often creates another.


I'm hardly asking for pity, rather support.


It's second nature to gawk at the child who is throwing a temper tantrum in the freezer section of your local market because he is being denied a carton of ice cream. You can easily whisper about the parent vainly attempting to subdue their wild child and shake your head in disgrace. I beseech though, try to remember the invisible one who is hiding in two aisles over, wishing that she could be somewhere, anywhere else other than stuck, being secondly-handedly subjected to the chatter and glares of critical passers-by, looking down their noses at her "flawed" flesh and blood.


Words, as any raconteur will confirm, are a powerful and potentially deadly weapon.


"Stupid." "Short bus." "Retard." Not only are these jabs often directed at the child in question, but also towards those related to them. Children, indeed, can be cruel and may stoop to any low in order to inflict pain, something I have had the misfortune of learning first hand on numerous occasions.


Tension builds up not only outside of the domiciles in question, but within as well.


Home is considered to be where the heart is, but when being brought up along side an Autistic child, it's also where a massive powder keg of aggression, physical altercations and stress lies in wait. Explosions are a daily occurrence.


The lack of understanding is key here: a misheard word or improper use of tone can send harsh words and fists flying. I recall more evenings spent alone in my bedroom, sobbing, while a war waged on outside my door than those spend 'round the family table. We'd be lucky to make it through the front door before sparks began to fly.


Eliciting sadness or shame was far from my intent; I only hope to have instilled some deeper sense of understanding. Too many children are over-looked due to high-maintenance siblings, those who require a great deal of attention, and I merely wish to bring to your attention that it's far from fair to possibly give one child a complex simply because the other was born with one.

© 2010 Kelley T


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At last, someone has given a voice to the siblings of those with special needs. I've grown up with an autistic sibling, and so I can really relate to how you feel. I know what you mean when you say, '"Stupid." "Short bus." "Retard." Not only are these jabs often directed at the child in question, but also towards those related to them. Children, indeed, can be cruel and may stoop to any low in order to inflict pain, something I have had the misfortune of learning first hand on numerous occasions.' It's embarrassing when my dad drops my brother and me off at school in the morning and my brother screams obscenities while running to his classroom. I fear that others will think I'm the same way. Not only is it embarrassing, but I also have to deal with emotional pain (the fact that my brother will never be what is considered "normal") and physical pain (my brother has seizure-like spells that are induced by stress and he'll often attack me). Not only can I relate to you, but this piece was beautifully written. I especially like how you said, "Autism, though a disorder generally thought as an affliction that is restricted solely to the diagnosed individual, has its ways of snaking out and affecting those around them without the slightest effort." Feel free to inbox me if you'd like to chat.


Posted 6 Years Ago



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Added on January 15, 2010
Last Updated on January 15, 2010
Tags: autism, complex, siblings

Author

Kelley T
Kelley T

Pittsburgh, PA



About
If there's one thing in which I believe, it's following your dreams. And, that said, I try my damnedest to not be a hypocrite. : ) more..

Writing
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