Sometimes when there’s an autistic child in the family, siblings get lost in the frenzied turmoil of trying to help the child with more immediate, dire challenges.
“We’ll come back to the museum again soon, honey, but we have to leave now because your brother is having a meltdown.”
“I know you want to try that ride but I can’t get your brother to move, and you can’t go alone.”
You want to let the “typically developing” child find their independence, but with all the fires to put out for safety issues, opportunities allowing them to stretch their wings are frustratingly limited.
Tough on the neurotypical kid, yes. Makes parents feel guilty, yes. Avoidable? Maybe in someone else’s miracle-world, but not in most autism households we know.
Siblings of severely challenged family members live a different childhood, and become sensitive and mature beyond their years largely due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control.
Frustrated as our older son may have been at times growing up, he chooses to be companion to his autistic brother on family hikes. It’s his chance to offer us parents a brief moment to walk freely and not directly supervise his brother.
The hand our autistic son reaches for first on family walks? His brother’s.
Heartfelt thanks to all the siblings out there with family members requiring extraordinary care. We see you!
This week’s Hike Notes, Queen Wilhelmina Garden, take readers to a highlight spot in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which can make for an easy stroll visit on its own, or be part of a bigger walk around the park.
The long list of Hikes can be found on the Quick View Hike List and on the main Hikes page. All past Insights posts can also be viewed in the Insights/Hike Update News archives.
Check the Home page for the broader background story. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photo galleries at the bottom of each hike page! Click Insights/Hike Update News for inspiring reflections. Please feel free to share. Follow on Twitter at @HikingAutism
New this week:
Hike Notes 129: Queen Wilhelmina Garden
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.