Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

Tips on How Having a Sibling with Autism has Changed my Life for the Better

*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please see our disclosure policy.

How having a sibling with autism has changed my life for the better

We all go through events in our lives that lead us to make decisions and take us down different paths that affect our life. Well, today I want to share how growing up with my brother has changed my life for the better and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Autism can be scary…but it doesn't have to be

I think many people hear the word Autism and they think socially awkward, aggressive, weird, etc…We don't have to think that way if we get to know the person for who they are and not what society tells us to believe.

My Story

My brother was born when I was 13 years old and I loved growing up with a baby brother. It was so much fun to see him grow up and have opportunities to play with him. I remember going out into public places with him and getting weird looks from strangers like he was my child, but that didn't stop me from going places with him. He was my little brother and I loved him so much.

I remember going off to college and that was the year when he was starting kindergarten and the year he was diagnosed with Autism. My mom would tell me how hard that first year of school was for the both of them with her being the special education teacher not being able to help her own son and how much anxiety he was having at school. After that year was when my mom decided she needed to do what she felt was best and homeschool my brother.

Growing up along side my brother has taught me many valuable life lessons and has lead me down different paths in my life that I probably wouldn't be down today if not for him. He was my inspiration for choosing my career path of occupational therapy and for starting this blog! He has taught me more about compassion and nurture along with my mom more than anyone else ever has. He helps me be a better person by helping me think outside of the box to learn to help other individuals as well. He has helped teach me so many life lessons along the way and I want to share them all with you!

My Number One Tip: Love your Brother or Sister for Who They Are

I feel like society tells us so many times that if we aren't “normal” we don't fit it and we need to “change”. I am telling you that is wrong to believe and that we need to learn to love and accept our loved ones for who they are as individuals and not what society tells us to believe. Think about people that have stood out in our society…were they people that fit in? Or were they people that stood out and had unique and amazing talents? The people that stand out to me are the ones who go against the crowd to stand out and be different. Don't let the world tell you how you or your sibling needs to be, make the world a better place and help them learn to make the world work for them.

Learn to embrace their differences and their strengths. Help them identify their strengths in their lives and see themselves through a positive lens. I feel like so many times Autism is seen as bad…and this can have a huge impact on someone's self esteem. Make sure you are always talking about Autism in a positive light and talking positive with your sibling and family as well. This can have a HUGE impact.

Don't Try to Change Them

This statement goes along with the one above, but I wanted to make sure I hit this hard…Every person is unique and has strengths and weaknesses. We all have skills that we are good at and others that we could use more practice with. Your Sibling is going to be the same way, if they have something that is more difficult for them help them with that skill, but don't change who they are because they can't do something as well. For example, if going out to public places is hard for your brother or sister, find a way to make that easier for your sibling by going somewhere that you know they really enjoy. My brother does not like going out to eat at restaurants, but he was super motivated to go to Dave and Buster's. We were able to go to that restaurant because it was something he wanted to do and was motivated to do it.

A strength of my brother is that he is very smart with science and technology. He is very good with computers and that is why I have been learning the blogging world for him to be able to teach this skill to him when he gets older as a way for him to make an income. As his sister I feel that I need to use my strengths of (patience and learning) to help my brother out when he transitions into adulthood to help make life a little easier for him.

Treat them as an Equal

This may seem like common sense to some, but always make sure you treat your sibling like you treat your other siblings as well. It is okay to joke around with them, play with them, or even get upset with them. These are normal emotions to have with all family members.

Involve Them in Activities with You

Don't leave someone out just because you think they won't like the activity or it might be too hard for them. Always ask them if they would like to join you in something, you never know what they may say.

I also want to say too, don't force your brother or sister to do something with you if they really don't like it or don't want to do it. Growing up, I knew my brother really did not like movie theaters or going to restaurants. I always asked him if he wanted to go with me, but I would never force him to do something if it upset him.

Teach them Skills

Being the older sister, I kind of also took on that motherly role as well with me brother. I wanted to protect him from harm. If we went to the playground when he was little and had a hard time playing with the other kids I would look out for him. I would be the one playing on the jungle gym with him and going down the slides. I wouldn't let the other kids bother him or bother me either.

Growing up with my brother when I was younger I loved being able to teach him new play skills or go swimming with him and try to help him learn how to swim. Now that we are both older my mom and I are both trying to learn to teach him life skills to help him be more independent as he transitions into adulthood. I know I look to my brother for teaching me new skills on the computer and through different video games he is playing and he looks up to me to help teach him different skills as well. Be there for each other and be a positive role model for each other. Take the time to help one another and teach them something you are learning.

Most of All Be a Big or Little Sibling to Them

Love each of your family members for the unique person that they are. Learn to love their quirks and be there for them. Protect and guide them in this journey through life. If they ask for your help, be there for them. You don't have to make the big gestures, just do the little day by day things together that make such a big difference. If you are an older sibling like me, take time to call or visit your younger brother or sister because seeing you can bring your little sibling so much joy.

Growing up alongside my brother has changed me for the better because it has taught me to be the person I am today. I have learned to love each person for their unique abilities and strengths and to not let the world define who you need to be. My life choices have been chosen because of my brother and mother and I have them to thank for the person I have become. I hope that if you have a sibling with Autism, they can have such a positive experience on you as my brother has had on me in my life.

If you have a sibling with Autism, whether they are younger or older, what are some tips they have taught you in your life? I would love to learn from other siblings as well! Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Are you feeling overwhelmed by information about Autism and don't know where to turn? Check out our 180+ FREE Autism Resource Guide for information about Autism websites, blogs, Facebook support groups, books, self-care, transition to adulthood information and MORE! Get your FREE resource below by giving us your name and email address!

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Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!

Are you looking for other amazing tips and advice from Special Needs Parents? Check out the other posts below for GREAT tips and advice to help you feel less overwhelmed.

The Best Montessori Tips for Families with Special Needs | Every Star is Different

Advice for Monitoring & Managing Anxiety in Autistic Children & Teens | My Home Truths

Advice for Parents of Children with Special Needs | The Chaos and The Clutter

What Autistics Wish You Knew About Your Child | This Outnumbered Mama

Ways to Help a Special Needs Child Learn | Life Over C’s

The One Thing I Wish Someone Had Told Me After My Daughter’s Diagnosis | Kori at Home

2 Things Every Hyperlexia Parent Should Know | And Next Comes L

The Best Self Care for Single Moms of Special Needs Children| Finding the Golden Gleam

 

13 Children’s Books About Disabilities

13 Children’s Books About Disabilities

*This page contains affiliate links, there is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. Please read our disclosure statement for more information. 

13 Children's Books About Disabilities 

13 books about disabilities pin

Are you looking for children's books that provide insight and understanding about various disabilities? I feel that the best way to help our children learn compassion and understanding is by talking to them about various disabilities and sharing stories to help them understand.

We have compiled a round up of various books that we have come across that share insight about children with various disabilities. We have not personally read them all, but they were all highly recommended.

My Brother Sammy is Special by by Becky Edwards

 In this book Sammy has autism and his brother gets frustrated that he can't always play with him because he doesn't like the same things he does and wants a brother more like him. But by the end of the book the older brother realizes that he should not demand everything on his own terms and that Sammy’s way of doing things may not be so bad after all. Grades K–3.

Just Because by Rebecca Elliott

 This is a heartwarming picture book about being perfectly loved, no matter what. The younger brother goes on to describe all of the fun he has with his big sister who he loves so much and delights in telling us all about the fun things they do together. As the books goes on he realizes his sister has special needs and he accepts this as he does, all the wonderful things about her. Ages 4-8.

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete

In this book,Charlie has autism and it goes on to talk about how his brain works in a special way and it's harder for him to make friends. His big sister tells us, for everything that Charlie can't do well, there are plenty more things that he's good at. She goes on to tell us everything he is good at and shows a wonderful relationship between siblings. Grades  K–3.

Molly the Pony: A True Story by Pam Kaster

This book is about Molly the pony and shares the experiences she went through when she was rescued after Hurrican Katrina and her new ling on a farm with new animal friends. A dog at the farm attacks her and her front leg is injured badly and she undergoes amputation of her front leg which is a rare surgery for horses. She then relearns how to walk and embarks on this new mission in life. Grades K-3.

Knockin’ on Wood: Starring Peg Leg Bates by Lynne Barasch

This is an inspirational biography of Clayton -Peg Leg- Bates (1907-1998), an African American man who over came the hardship of losing a leg at age 12 and went on to become a world-renowned tap dancer. Grades K-3.

Rainbow Joe and Me by Maria Diaz Strom

This book talks about how Eloise learns a new way to see the world through her friend Rainbow Joe who is blind. He teaches her how he imagines and mixes colors. Eloise learns a whole new way to see the world. Grades K-3.

Different, Not Less: A Children's Book About Autism by Dan Gibbons

This is a fantastic book talking about how children with autism can do amazing, incredible things!  This book can be used to teach your child about Autism Spectrum Disorder. The poem in the book was written by a father of a son with ASD. This book will give you an opportunity to explain the diagnosis to your child when you believe they are able to understand. Each page also has a hidden word. Red letters mixed in with the black letters spell uplifting words for those diagnosed with autism. Can your child find them? Grades K-3.

Silent Star: the Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy by Bill Wise


This book shares the story of William Hoy and how he loved baseball. Growing up in the 1860s and '70s, he dreamed of one day playing in the major leagues. A far-off fantasy for many boys, fulfilling this dream was even more of a long shot for William, who was deaf. Age Range: 6 – 11 years.

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon

This book shares the experiences of a child in kindergarten who has double vision and the strugggles she goes through with double vision. She then starts to wear a patch to help her with her vision and she becomes the pirate of kindergarten. With the help of her patch she is now able to read and cut! Age Range: 4-8 years. 

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

This book does a wonderful job of explaining and showing how a teacher can help a child overcome dyslexia and helps her learn to read. This can be a great book for a child that has difficulty reading or for a teacher who has made a difference in a child's life. Age Range: 5-8 years.

I Can Understand by Aviva M. Cantor


This book was inspired by the relationship of the authors older brother who had disabilities. Whenever children would see her brother they would ask why he looked different and her mother would respond, “He can't talk, but he can understand.” This inspired her to write a book to help children have a better understanding of people with special needs. Through this book Joey is the narrator and gets the opportunity to speak for himself and the reader gets to learn his perspective.  This book lets others benefit from all that the author's brother has taught her about acceptance, humanity, and unconditional love. Grades K-3.

Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have The Wiggle Fidgets by Barbara Esham

This book describes what it is like for kids in class who need to wiggle and move and how they can feel embarrassed by these behaviors. It provides some great techniques to help with these behaviors in the classroom and is very highly recommended. Age Range: 6 and up.

Dana Also Deserves a Playground by Yael Manor

This story aims to shed light, on the discrimination against disabled children in the playgrounds. It provides some of the struggles these children face on the play ground and how we can create a more inclusive play ground. Grades K-3.

We hope this list can provide you with a variety of stores to share with your children to help us provide a world with acceptance and understanding. Do you have a favorite book about disabilities that you would like us to add to this list? Please let us know what stories you like!

Has your child been recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and you are feeling overwhelmed? This blog post is part of our FREE Autism & Special Needs Resource PDF where we provide you with a wealth of resources from sites, blogs, podcasts, books, and even transition to adulthood resources. Please enter your name and email below to download our FREE resource.

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180+ Amazing Autism and Special Needs Resources

180+ Amazing Autism and Special Needs Resources

180+Amazing Autism and Special Needs Resources!

180 Amazing Autism and Special Needs Resources for Families, children, and adults Freebie

Are you Feeling Overwhelmed?

Do you feel overwhelmed and tired, and just struggling to feel like you are making an impact with your child or adult with autism or special needs?

Today we wanted to share an amazing FREE resource we have created to help you feel a little less overwhelmed and more like you can take action on how you can find resources to help your family.

We get it, it can be hard to go through the every day tasks, especially when you are transitioning onto a new stage in life where you have to consistently learn new ideas and techniques to help your child succeed in life. We wanted to create the ultimate bundle of resources for you and your family to feel more confident in your stage of life and decrease that feeling of overwhelm.

This FREE Resource has over 180+ ideas from Autism websites, books, support groups, blogs by families and professionals, transitions into adulthood resources, podcasts, self-care tips, organization, ebooks, planners, calendars, & MORE!!

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What resources will you get from this download?

  • Autism Sites
  • Autism Books
  • Sensory Processing Books
  • Children with Disabilities Books
  • Transition into Adulthood Resources
  • Self-Care and Parenting Resources
  • Facebook Support Groups
  • Pinterest Group Boards with loads of Special needs content
  • Autism and Special Needs Blogs
  • Occupational Therapy Blogs
  • Speech Therapy Blogs
  • Helpful EBooks
  • Calendars
  • Planners
  • Podcasts
  • Help Around the Home Resources
  • Online Resources
  • Blogging Resources to start your own blog

We also share our blogging tips and resources if you are someone that is looking for help with blogging as a way to make extra income for your family or for a way for your adult child to create an at home online business!

We hope you find this FREE resource helpful as you are going through each stage of life whether you just got the diagnosis or you are looking for ways to continue to advocate for your child or adult. We are here to HELP!

Please leave a comment about what you think about the resources or if you know of any more to add! We would love to hear your feedback!

Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!

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25 Ways to Show Support For a Family with a Child with Special Needs

25 Ways to Show Support For a Family with a Child with Special Needs

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. If you would like read more here is our disclosure statement.

25 Ways to Show Support For a Family with a Child with Special Needs

25 ways to show support for a family with a child with special needs

This post was originally written about Mother's day, but the more I thought about it the more I realized these are actions that we should do all year round for mothers, parents, and fathers of children with special needs. These can seem like such simple acts of kindness, but they can go a long way for a family. 

Mother's day can be a wonderful day where mother's feel appreciated and loved for many, but sometimes it can also bring up pain and sadness depending on what memories this day brings to you. Maybe you recently lost a mother or you are a mother who lost a child. This time a year can bring back sadness and hurt.

Maybe you are a single mother  or father taking care of a child that has complex medical needs or a child that needs a lot of attention and care. Or maybe you are a family trying to find ways to help your mother have a day where she can feel appreciated and loved for everything that she does for you. Whatever avenue you are on this Mother's day, I hope that these tips can help all Mother's especially those with a child with special needs feel loved and appreciated for all of their hard work. If you are a husband, loved one, or friend to a mother with a child with special needs, we hope these ideas can spark some inspiration to help make Mother's day and every day a success!

This post is the first of many in the self-care series where we will provide you with resources and advice on how to help take care of ourselves as a parent. We need to learn to also take care of ourselves as a parent to be able to provide the best care for our children.

Help Provide Them with a Break

My mother is always wanting to do everything for her children. She is constantly putting her children and her husband first in her life and doesn't always take time for herself. Helping your mother be able to take a break from the busy schedules can help reenergize herself so that she can be the best version of herself to help her family.

Ask Them How you Can Help

This is a BIG one…and as a mother you need to be able to learn to accept help as well. Ask her what she may need done around the house, or how you can help out to make this next week a little easier for her. Is there something you could help by taking care of her children or going with her to be able to go out in the community and participate in a fun activity with the entire family? There are endless possibilities of ways she may need help, but make sure you are there for her and ask her what she needs help with.

Find out an Activity They Really Enjoy and Do That with Them

Don't be afraid to just ask her is there something you would really like to go and do? Find out from other family members what are some of her favorite activities to do and provide time for her to complete that activity with her. Now keep in mind you may have to also figure out child care for this mother if you are wanting it to be just the two of you. This may take some extra planning depending on her situation, so make sure you take that into consideration.

Listen to Their Needs (don't judge or provide feedback unless they ask)

Maybe just taking the time to listen to her and allowing her to share her feelings and opinions without feeling judged is what a mother might need. Bring her a cup of coffee or tea and allow her the opportunity to just sit and chat in a judgement free zone. You never know how much of an impact this simple act can make for someone that may feel like they are alone.

Let Them Know You are Here for Them

Let your mother know that you are here for them as a loved one or a friend and know that you are available to talk or go do an activity with them. Let them know that they can call you if they are needing help or just need some advice. It is always good to know which friends or loved ones you can always count on to help you out when you need it.

Make a Meal for Them and Their Family to Share Together

For some mothers, cooking a meal can be very tough and frustrating. It can take a long time to create a healthy meal for a family to share together. You have to find the time to go grocery shopping, prep the ingredients, and then cook the meal. That can be very time invasive, so just the kind act of making an entire meal for this mother to be able to share with her loved ones can be a huge act of kindness.

Help with the Yard Work

Yard work is another chore that can be daunting and take a lot of time, which a lot of mother's don't have enough time. Helping out with mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, or watering the flowers can be a huge help for some mother's and families.

Ask to Help Clean the House

The act of asking to help do the laundry or clean up the kitchens or bathrooms can also be a huge help around the house. This can help the mother's have more time to spend with their loved ones doing something they enjoy together. I know if this was me, I would love to have someone help clean up my house.

Help Run an Errand

Depending on their situation, just finding the time to be able to leave the house for a simple errand, can be a hard task for some mothers. Asking to help go get groceries or drop off some packages can be a huge help for some!

Provide them with a Gas Card to help with Transportation to Appointments

Gas can be expensive, especially if you are a family where you are constantly driving to appointments for your child. A gas card could go a long way for some mother's to be able to have sufficient funds to know she can get her children to their appointments on time.

Let them take a Nap or Sleep in

Sleep is one of those things that can be neglected when you are a mother to a child with lots of needs or just a very busy lifestyle. Help a mother out by offering to take care of the child for a while to allow her to sleep in or take a nap. Sleep is a necessity and can help a mother be the best version of herself with enough sleep and energy.

Provide Her with Opportunities to Listen to Books through an Audible Subscription

This one is a personal preference, as I love to listen to books on my audible app through Amazon. I am someone that doesn't take the time to sit and read, so I love being able to listen to books on tape and I am able to multi task at the same time with either doing dishes or folding laundry. I also love listening to books in the car! This has opened up so many more opportunities for me to be able to catch up on reading that I otherwise would not do.

Ask if they Would Like to Do Something as Family Where Everyone Can Join in and Participate

Is there an activity that the whole family would like to be able to do together? Help them find a way to complete that activity where everyone in the family will be able to help participate with to help create fun memories for the mother and family to be able to cherish for a lifetime.

Provide Uplifting and Encouraging Books to Read or Listen to Help them Relax

Our family loves finding books where the message is uplifting and encouraging. Maybe there are other mom's out there that also like to read encouraging books as well. Find out what your mom likes to read and provide opportunities for her to do that. My mom has loved watching and reading inspirational books by Joel Osteen.

Here are a list of possible encouraging and uplifting books 

This Life I Live: One Man's Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever by Rory Feek

Start with Amen: How I Learned to Surrender by Keeping the End in Mind by Beth Guckenberger

The Magnolia Story by Chip GainesJoanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino 

Get Them a Special Gift to Show your Appreciation and Love

A bouquet of flowers

Gourmet Chocolates

Locket Necklace

Succulent Plants

Indoor Herb Garden

Mom Coffee Mug

The special gifts could go on and on forever. Every person likes a special gift that comes from the heart. These are just some ideas to get you started in the gift giving process.

This post goes out to all mothers who work hard to provide for their families and work to take care of their children to the best of their abilities.  I hope you can find some inspiration from the ideas listed above to show your love and support to all the mother's in your life. This list is not just about mother's but both parents or fathers who are just trying their best to raise happy healthy children. Is there something you would like me to add to this list of ideas? We would love to hear from you!

How I Learned to Ride a Bike on My Own!

How I Learned to Ride a Bike on My Own!

*This post contains affiliate links which is no extra cost to you, but can help out our family greatly with a small commission.

The Struggle of Riding a Bike

Ever since my brother was little he has struggled with having the balance and coordination to be able to ride a bike on his own. When he was really little he was able to ride a small tricycle, but as he got older he had more trouble riding the tricycle and we tried putting on training wheels on bikes, but it just wasn't enough stability for him. Then we discovered an old tandem bike that my parents had and he was able to ride on the back of the tandem bike with one of us in the front! It was amazing to be able to get valuable exercise with biking as a family. As he got older he got taller and it was getting harder for us to safely balance with him on the back, especially with the old rusty bike.

He was Motivated to Learn the Skill

My brother was very motivated to learn the skill of riding a bike on his own, but we knew it needed to be set up in a safe way for him to be able to accomplish this goal. We had tried multiple times to ride a two wheeled bike, but every time he would crash and that would just increase his anxiety and frustration and then he would quit. It can be hard to find a physical activity that we can all do together where we are all having fun and enjoy ourselves. So we knew we had to figure out a way to make biking work for our family. That is where the bike pictured above came into the picture!

How He was Able to Ride a Bike on His Own!

As a family we had done extensive research over the years with tricycles, but it was so hard to be able to find places where we could see them in person and be able to practice riding them before ordering them. Bikes are a HUGE investment and cost a lot of money. We didn't want to purchase something online and then have my brother not be able to ride the bike. We also knew we wanted to find something that he could use for a long time and be able to grow with him as he keeps getting taller and taller. My parents and my brother decided to go to some local bike shops and one shop had an adult tricycle in stock for my brother to actually practice riding and he fell in LOVE! He told my mom it was so easy for him to go and the seat was super comfortable! Those are huge wins, because we need to figure out how to make physical exercise as easy as possible to stay motivated to keep up with it! The only negative to the bike was it was low to the ground and we were worried about the safety of riding it.

That was when we turned to looking on Craigslist just to see if there would happen to be something used for less the price as something new. It was a MIRACLE!! We looked and there was one for sale!! We were so incredibly BLESSED! We were able to get the bike pictured above for a third of the original price and it was in great working condition!! We knew we were super lucky to find one available near us for sale! The bike pictured above is the Sunseeker X3-AX. It was everything my brother was looking for! It was easy for him to use safely and he was comfortable while riding it! His expression was priceless while riding the bike for the first time! His smile was so big and he was so proud of himself for being able to do something on his own!

Learning the Safety Skills

Now that we have a bike he can ride on his own, now we have been working on teaching him the safety skills with riding a bike on his own. We always make sure to wear our helmet and he is really good about doing that! He understands that we need to protect our heads/brain if we were to fall. We have also been taking about the street signs and making sure we STOP at stop signs and yield as well. We also talk about which side of the street to ride on. We live in a super small town, so luckily we don't have to worry much about traffic. We have also been teaching him about how to shift into different gears and how to know when to shift into different gears based on if you are on flat ground or trying to go up a hill. It is a very EXCITING time in our lives helping my brother achieve a dream of his with being able to independently ride a bike! You will see us riding bikes as a family this summer and we can't wait for the weather to get nicer outside!

Do you have a success story you would like to share with me or would you like to share your story on the blog? We would love to feature other families and their successes/triumphs! Is there a new skill your child has just learned or just something positive you would like to share with us? Feel free to give me your name and email address below and I would love to get to know you more on a personal level and be able to showcase your family/child on our blog!! We want to be able to spread joy and happiness with other families and advocate for children with special needs!

Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!

everyday_life_skills__3D_cover