Please join us for our last Autism 200 Series Class of 2012

Just a reminder that the next Autism 200 Series class will be Thursday, November 15, 2012 at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Wright Auditorium from 7-8:30 pm. These classes are designed for parents, teachers and caregivers. The topics associated with the majority of classes are applicable to all age ranges and for a wide variety of children diagnosed with autism.

This month’s class Autism 211: Sibling Panel- Autism from a Sibling’s Perspective” will be led by Seattle Children’s Katrina Davis and will include a panel of siblings that all have a brother or sister on the spectrum. Below is a preview of what to expect at this month’s class.

Raising a child with autism places some extraordinary demands on parents. Many parents indicate that even as they do all they can for their child with autism, they are always struggling with how best to respond to the needs of the family as a whole. The time involved in meeting the needs of a family member with autism may leave parents with little time for their other children.

There are special demands on siblings, and learning how to manage these demands will make their childhood easier and will teach them skills that will make them more effective and resilient adults. There are many potential sources of stress for siblings. Not all siblings will experience these issues, but here are some to be aware of:

  • Embarrassment around peers; jealousy regarding amount of time parents spend with their brother/sister
  • Frustration over not being able to engage or get a response from their brother/sister
  • Being the target of aggressive behaviors
  • Trying to make up for the deficits of their brother/sister
  • Concern regarding their parent’s stress and grief
  • Concern over their role in future care-giving

While growing up as the sibling of someone with autism can certainly be trying, most siblings cope very well. It is important to remember that while having a sibling with autism or any other disability is a challenge to a child, it is not an insurmountable obstacle. Most children handle the challenge effectively, and many of them respond with love, grace and humor far beyond their years. 

Our panel of siblings will share their experiences, wisdom, stories, challenges, and joys— of living with a brother or sister on the spectrum. Please join us to hear how they answer the following:

  1. Please tell us about yourself and tell us about your brother or sister with autism.
  2. What are/were some of the most challenging aspects of being a brother or sister of someone with autism? And what are/were some of the best or most rewarding aspects? (please share examples and stories)
  3. Would you say being a sibling to someone with autism has impacted your life? Describe any skills you acquired, lessons you learned, insights you gained or ways this affected and shaped your life.
  4.  What would you like or have liked your parents to know?   Knowing many of our audience members are parents, what advice do you have for them?
  5. If the whole world were listening, what would you like to say about your brother or sister with autism?

Content and questions developed with assistance from and Sandra Harris, Ph.D., professor and dean at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology and E.D at Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers.

Each class includes time for questions and discussion. Classes are also available at our video and teleconferencing sites.