As I pointed out in my last post much ado is made about Autism during the month of April. This is good, Autism should have its own month. But, I think there is something we are forgetting about, the unsung heroes of any autism household, the neuro-typical siblings. Boo gets most of the press in my blog, simply because he is on the spectrum and I am trying to raise autism awareness. What many people do not know is that Boo has an amazing younger sister, Mouse. They are exactly 2 years and one week apart in age, but very different people. Boo was 15 months old when I conceived Mouse, before any thoughts about Autism or developmental delays had begun to creep into my head. I think that God timed this perfectly. By the time Boo was 17 or 18 months old, I began to have serious worries about his lack of development in speech, reciprocal play, eye contact, etc. Had I not gotten pregnant before these delays became apparent, I probably would not have tried to have another baby at all. In a way, Mouse is my miracle baby. She came at exactly the right time. God gave me two beautiful children, one boy and one girl, both healthy, both loved, both with their own set up strengths and gifts. I knew as soon as Mouse was a few minutes old that I had just birthed my last child. God had given me what I needed.
So, about Mouse, what is she like? In a word, amazing, though I may have slightly biased opinion. She is maneuvering the pitfalls of junior high with grace and grit. She had a 4.0 GPA, is a dedicated student of Kung Fu and a treasure to her friends and family. When her friends need a shoulder to cry on, Mouse is there. She is also fiercely protective of her brother and will fight for him until her last breath. Being the sibling of a child with disabilities forced her to grow up fast. She has known since a young age that we can’t travel together or do many things together as a family. I have never once heard her complain. Living with Boo has gotten easier of the years, but she has considerable sacrifices made to her childhood despite her father’s any my best efforts.
So, it is April, and it is Autism awareness month. We take this month the celebrate our neuro-diverse children, but let’s not forget the unsung heroes of the story, the siblings of those on the spectrum.