Today we celebrate families; specifically, the siblings of our children whose lives are impacted by autism. As many are entering university, they are choosing careers supportive of people on the spectrum-mostly as a response to their early years, which were often quite different from their peers.
A basic principle of RDI is that all children in a family are important; this means everybody gets equal time and equal resources. At first glance, one might think that the child on the spectrum needs equal time and equal resources, however, it is the other members of the family who can be overlooked. Often resentful because their parents’ emotional time and financial resources were directed toward the child with a problem, they struggle to find their own place of importance in the family. Eventually, they will each find their road and their own internal lights but frequently following feelings of isolation, anger, resentment and worry.
So our beginning work with parents is always about equal time and energy for everybody, including each other. Having a parent’s undivided attention (even when their time together includes a mundane task like grocery shopping), is extremely important. Honest conversations about worries and feelings can be hard for a parent to hear and even harder to respond to but doing so is an essential component to raising healthy children. The Ronald McDonald House in Houston used to carry a workbook by LorRainne Donlon, “The Other Kid”. It’s a good conversation stimulator which also be used as a private journal. Brothers and sisters-we salute you today.
The video today grabbed not only my attention but that of LeBron James.