5 Tips for Siblings Joining the Circus – Family Newly Diagnosed Autism
Ah, so you got invited to the family circus as a member of a Family Newly Diagnosed Autism did you? Wow, as a kid I bet that sure can be hard and really confusing. When we found our my daughter was autistic, her older sister was 8 and her older brother was 6. I don’t think her little brother really understood. Her older sister, she understood a little bit. Yet, there was a lot more stuff we were all going to learn together.
I asked my kiddos what advice or tips they would give to other kids that are learning the news. Here are 5 tips they gave me. Hope you find them helpful!
You are Not Alone – A Circus is HUGE – Tip #1
If your in a Family Newly Diagnosed Autism, you are already in a great place. You are part of a group, your family. The family is going to become even more important now as you go through this fun journey together. Try to remember that every family has challenges. Sometimes, your brother or sister is going to act very challenging, but hey other families have stuff going on too.
If you think about a family like a big circus, like I do, you can imagine all the things that can happen. I mean an elephant could poop right in the middle of the walkway. That could be a big challenge for some of the other performers, but as a family they figure it out. Maybe next time the elephant trainer makes sure to walk the elephant in the poop pen before taking him for a stroll down the main walkway. Or, maybe the pooper picker upper goes right behind the elephant on his walk. It doesn’t really matter how the accident is cleaned up, or who does it, just that family is there to help.
Be Loud and Be Proud – Different is FUN – Tip #2
You love it when you parents are proud of you, right? Yeah, me too! The same things goes for any of your brothers or sisters. They like people to be proud of them. But, sometimes it is hard for others to be proud of them, because they don’t understand them like you do.
Be proud of your brother or sister. Learn to talk to others kids about autism so they are not scared. Scared people are the ones that are usually mean. People are often scared of things they don’t understand. I mean, my daughter used to run around in circles on her tiptoes. I think she might have been practicing to be a tightrope walker, but hey who knows, right? Some of her sister’s friends thought it was weird. Then, her big sister told them that is was just part of her autism and she got up and started running around in circles on her tiptoes! GUESS WHAT – it was totally fun!
Cranky Circus Performers are Not Fun – Tip #3
Just like we said you can have fun by enjoying the different things you brother or sister are doing, like pretending to walk the tightrope while tiptoe walking! There are also going to be times when you are sad, frustrated, or many even angry. Gosh, you might even feel left out and like your brother or sister gets all the attention.
It is okay to feel anything you feel. Mad is okay. Sad is okay. All of that is okay. But, remember that you are in a circus family with other people that are also learning how to act and deal with this new thing too. Being mean or angry at your parents or your brother or sister all the time is not good for you and no fun at all. Being mad doesn’t change anything either. You are SMART and super CREATIVE. How can you make things more fun? How can you make something weird less weird?
I mean, what if your brother or sister loves to flap their hands like crazy when they get excited. What if that really was bothering you and made you frustrated. Hmmmm? How can we make that more fun? Maybe you jump up and flap your hands too and you pretend you are all birds at the zoo? Maybe you are a dance teacher and that is part of your dance routine?
Hey look kiddo! Cranky circus performers are just not fun. Everyone is going through alot. And really, you are the smartest and most creative person in your family – so you can be in charge of making the weird stuff fun! Why not?!
Hang out with the Ringmasters – Tip #4
If your in a Family Newly Diagnosed Autism, you are already in a great place, right! But, you are going to still want time with your parents, the ringmasters. Your parents are really going to want time with you too. Spend time with your parents alone, as much as you can. Doing things together as a family with, but also, without your brother or sister. It is really okay!
Remember, the center of attention is the FAMILY. Your own personal CIRCUS. Not all the performers get to act at the same time. I mean that would just be crazy, am I right? So, hang out with Mom or Dad. It is totally okay to want time alone with them. Having a family member with an autism diagnosis can take a lot of time and attention sometimes. You need to feel important too! All performers in a circus are IMPORTANT! I mean what would a circus be if there were no clowns or elephants, but only tightrope walkers? Not so fun, right?
Find a Performance You Love and Act in It! – Tip #5
Remember when I said you were the smartest one in the family circus? Well, you totally are. So, I am sure you can do this next one! What if you find something super fun to do with your brother or sister that is your special performance? What if you are the person that always does the Dan TDM YouTube pretend radio show? What if you are the person that always plays dance party?
Finding a fun performance or activity that is special for just your and them is really fun and rewarding! It can help you connect with your brother or sister when things seem a little crazy. No matter how little your brother or sister can do, there is always something you can do together that creates a feeling of being close to them. Guess what? They will really look forward to these shared performances too! You might find you are their favorite actor! They will greet you with a big giant smile or a special handshake – why – cause you are totally best pals!
You are going to be a great brother or sister! I am sure you already are pretty darn fantastic. I sure hope your Mom or Dad will tell me all about the fun things you have invented! Come back to read more fun stuff about the circus if Mom and Dad let you!
Thank you so much,
The Reluctant Ringmaster, Jackie Schwabe