Sunday, March 1, 2015

Autism Hacks #13

Sibs rock + G Challenge Winner! #13 is dedicated to my teens, because when they were young, they'd say being Autism Sibling brings "bad luck" at times. Nowadays, they roll with the best ASD teams I know. I'd love to deliver all the solutions, yet all I can do is offer positivity.

My 15 year old wanted to see a movie with his new girlfriend over mid-winter break. Big sis and I took G to see Spongebob while N and his girl went on their own. We filled up on popcorn and snacks so much that nobody wanted to go to eat. 

Shopping at Target was voted in. I promise I didn't suggest it, but who am I to argue? The kids perused the toy section, then wandered the books, snacks - landing in technology. I joyfully pranced off with my buggy. G kept hunting me down with new items he "had to have". M would soon follow, trailing G. After much debate, G finally chose a big nerf blaster to spend his Christmas cash. The kids regretfully ended their videos in the games section; once again I'd "closed" Target.

On the drive back to hang out at our house, the teens all pitched in to uncase G's new treasure. In the silence of their feverish project, G proclaimed to N's date,

" I love you more

than ALL of Nick's girlfriends!"

Smooth move, little Broski! 

We all cracked up after a brief uncomfortable pause, but I'm sure N was glad it was dark in the car. (Blush) :)

N's date survived the G Challenge, even taking a day trip with us to a fun museum later in the week. She jumped in and helped find my wandering (running) curious kiddo when I missed him a few times, without judgment. She exuded life and great humor and listened to G (and me) belt out several songs in our 2 hour road trip. She even joined in singing and got N to sing. What a trooper!

Autism Awareness is who we are. Anyone who becomes involved with us on a regular basis sees the challenges, the fun, the embarrassment, the LOVE. 

Welcome friend, to our Perky Quirks. My N is special because he's himself; so proud of my accomplished, smart, funny, hard-working volunteer and leader. My N is extraordinary because he's lived in a home filled with all that Autism brings. He's helped his brother achieve major milestones. We have DAILY struggles. My kids weather these difficulties too young, but we don't have options. Instead it strengthens us, toughens us, deepens us, challenges us. Fulfills us at times; depletes us more often. 

We do share a strong bond of Autism Code. We high five each other on small feats and outrageous wins and offer respite when the going gets tough. My kids have been mini-caretakers since G began running. My amazing kids are siblings first; yet strong advocates, diligent therapists, loving counselors. My kids are my children first; helpers and respite more often than I'd like. G's hot buttons are crowds, sensory, new environments, homework. Unfortunately, most outsiders see G in this heightened social/public state. His sensory meltdowns and erratic behaviors are what his sibs contend with in ALL family/social situations. We must take turns monitoring G and work as TeamASD. The frustration gets to me; I can't imagine the feelings of helplessness and humiliation for a teen sibling. Can you remember being a teen? EVERYTHING IS EMBARASSING! (especially with families!) Kudos to my great teens, Super Autism Sibs. They lead the way to awareness through outreach programs, but they soldier through daily drills and promote acceptance in our community and family. My teens are top advocates. Priceless. 

I so wish I could find a teen support group for N/M. They grew immensely in their 3 years with SibShops, which ended at age 12. Sadly, teen sibs are likely the most needy when it comes to expressing their frustrations and working through to positive solutions. I'm a natural coach/counselor; I can usually bug them until they share, I have my ways. But my kids could really BENEFIT from a strong outside outlet. I'm certain they have issues with me or that they don't want to share with me, understandably.

Call Out to someone: 

How do I start a ASD Sibs Teen Support Group?

Are there books, resources to share? Please do. I'll update with research/resources.

Until then, we spread awareness one over-stimulating event and embarrassing yet sweet comment at a time. Love my family and our collective Perky Quirks!

My deepest apologies to N's sweet date and dear N; G expresses himself honestly but awkwardly. Thumbs up from the whole fam!

Finally, thanks G for shining your sparkling gifts upon our family. We adore you!