A love hate relationship

1 May

So, today I’ve been inspired to write this post by my beautiful daughter.

You see, my little princess is feeling a little left out! I guess I haven’t really treated her like the little princess that she is just lately.

I hold my hands up, life has been far to busy and she hasn’t received quite as much attention as I would have liked to have given her. I’m not stating I’ve neglected here, “As if my little diva would let me,” I’m merely stating that we need some one-on-one time without big brother! There has been less chick flicks & girlie pampering but far to many tears.

I look at my daughter with such pride, she is this truly amazing little girl who never fails to melt my heart. Like most siblings of Children on the autism spectrum, she seems quite mature for her eight years.

Over these past few months, which I must add have been pretty emotional for all, I’ve noticed my little girl has mimicked one or two of little man’s behaviours. It doesn’t take a genius to know why she has done this, after all little man gets quite a bit of attention when displaying such behaviours. Alice-Sara (My daughter) has claimed that she can no longer use certain cutlery when eating her dinner as it makes her feel fuzzy (tactile sensitivity). She has stated that it’s to noisy in school and has gone as far as throwing a tantrum over a miner mishap that wouldn’t normally bother her. This isn’t all! More recently see seems somewhat resentful towards her brother. It’s understandable given a good degree of the time he isn’t very nice to her and is extremely hard to live with, but it’s also to do with how much time I need to spend attending to Little mans needs, both social and educational. Last week I almost died of shock when my daughter, who enjoys school refused to attend. She throw me with her claims that she hated it and certain teachers didn’t understand her, yes, something her brother has stated through sobs of tears! She insisted that in-order for her to attend I would need to write some letters and sort things out in terms of her education! She also informed me that maybe it would be better to home educate her for a a bit while things settled down, Her worlds not mine! “Guys this little girl has a stack of friends and is popular with both the pupils and the teachers. Her reports always come back glowing with nothing but prise written all over them”. I knew what this was really about! With Little man’s pending Sen tribunal due to be heard in June, I have been writing statements, emails and filling out a ton of paperwork, mainly parental information needed to form part of his independent SALT and EP assessments. I have also been doing quite a bit of casework for my role as a TSS volunteer. Alice-Sara confirmed this to be the issue when I insisted we talk about it on the way to school when she so angrily stated why storming towards the front door, “Oh, You would have done it for him.” Yes, ‘him’ meaning Little man!

Alice-Sara loves her brother, however things are not always easy for her. All brothers & sisters normally quarrel, I’m not denying that, but come to our house, I promise you its beyond ‘Normal’!

Now, it’s not always the little dude who is the one to kick things off, my daughter has become accustomed to setting him off and she’s learnt how and what buttons to press in-order to get her desired reaction. However his rigid thinking and tendency to be inflexible and controlling has either brought her to breaking point or reduced her to tears. Lately she can’t seem to breathe without it bothering him. Just a few days back little man treated the family to a night on pain-killers. My daughter needed Calpol (children’s medicine) for her headache and although I had just taken a couple of good old paracetamol for my own chronic headache, I could have done with something a tad stronger like a few handfuls of tranquillisers to knock me out for the rest of the week!

Alice-Sara decided that having tried a ‘Fish Finger’ for the first time they were actually quite yummy. When dished up and the kids sat down for dinner, little man’s eyes wondered across the table in the direction of her plate. “OH NO…”

Little man: “Mum, you’ve given Alice the wrong dinner!”

Before I could answer…

“No, she hasn’t. I like fish fingers now.” Announced Alice-Sara.

Well, what happened next wasn’t anything unexpected as it happens on a regular basis! A full-on blow up was had that consisted of him claiming that his sister shouldn’t be allowed to like fish fingers as he likes them! “She’s copying me,” and “You’re horrible mum! They were my fish-fingers!” Those statements and a load more, accompanied together with kicking doors and throwing whatever was in his reach went on for a good proportion of the night. A real head banging event!

Last spring when things were really difficult at school for Little man which resulted in some challenges at home, I began to worry for both my Little man and my daughter. His aggressive behaviour was at a point that was deeply concerning. We went on a day out accompanied by my friend who ended up having quite an eventful time and one I’m sure she wont forget for some time! It was during this day out that I decided we as a family needed to seek professional help & support! Alice-Sara was happily flying a kite on the heath following the ‘Bike & Kite’ festival we had just attended. Out of nowhere came little man who had decided it was time she stopped! He run over giving her a massive shove that saw her fall to the ground. No tears followed, she didn’t even complain, just got up bushed herself off and returned to the joy of flying her kite. In that exact moment I realised that I had just witnessed something that scared the ‘crap out of me!’ Was this the ‘Norm’ for her? Did she consider it an acceptable thing for her big brother to have done? Would this little girl ‘my little girl’ grow up thinking it was Ok to be pushed around? I don’t want my daughter to ever allow herself to be treated like this, not by anybody including that off her big brother! It was lucky that at this time I was in contact with a lady who works for the autism outreach service for our area and how lucky was I when she agreed to visit me at home and have a chat with my little princess. I also gained some good ideas on strategies that I could implement that would hopefully stop little man becoming so physically aggressive towards his sister. It took some effort but results were seen, his hitting faded out and Alice-Sara would no longer turn a blind eye to his behaviour.

Sadly these past few weeks something has changed in the little man and myself and daughter have received some unwelcome attacks as a result. He even attacked his sister on a packed train when returning from the West End because she, ‘Disrespected Transport for London’ when placing her tired little feet on the seat she was sat on.

How can I make it stop? Consistency is our only hope. Strategies that we used last year have been tried but sadly failed, however this mum is on a mission and won’t give up on finding another strategy that works!

I’m guessing a number of parents of children on the autism spectrum will agree… consistency is a ‘must’ for all children but isn’t the easiest thing to apply when dealing with the child with Aspergers and they’re challenging behaviour.

To bring this post to a close I’ve finished with something positive. After all this talk of violence I think I need to! So, besides sharing some contact details for sibling support groups that some off you may find helpful, I’ve also included this beautiful picture that I captured yesterday on the train when on our way out for the evening to see a show in the West End to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Little man has his arm around his sister who happily excepted a hug as opposed to a slap or a punch! No-one requested he gave her a hug, it’s something that you just don’t see him do! I don’t know who was more surprised me or my daughter!

The Charity Barnardo’s run a number support groups for siblings of disabled children around the country. Some groups are mixed for both the Sibling and their brother/sister with a disability, whereas others are dedicated to the sibling alone. (028) 90672366 is the contact details for the London regional office. If anyone requires the number for their area drop me a comment or contact the above number as I’m sure they will help.

Contact a Family is another organisation who cater for siblings of children with disabilities. Further info can be obtained by calling… 0808 808 3555

Mencap are happy to put people in-touch with their local sibling support group. The number for England is: 0207 4540454

Kids are an organisation which runs play, education and social initiatives for disabled children and it is suggested that siblings may also benefit from their clubs, outings and residential weekends, and can be contacted on: 020 7359 7635 email: enquiries@kids.org.uk

9 Responses to “A love hate relationship”

  1. Claire Louise October 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Ross why don’t you read all off my blog. Who do u think u are to diagnosis me as having asperger’s. You have never ever meet me.
    I have fought the system for my child won a discrimination case, got him a statement a school. When he was excluded from school trips I took him on our own, I live for my son as well as my other two children. I am an adviser to parents fighting for their child so please read another post people you ofload your judgemental crap on me please we deal with your kind wen my son has a meltdown in public we don’t need it here. My daughter don’t have asperger’s and if she did so what!! She doesn’t get half the attention as my son and she has the right to be restentful at times after all she is only a child!

  2. Ross Moore October 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    I was reading that one difference between boys with aspergers and girls with aspergers is that girls mimic people around them and end up blending in with neurotypical people. I believe aspergers has a genetic base. I think you and your daughter also have aspergers. It also sounds like you favor your daughter over your son, and he notices and resents it. The most annoying thing with mothers with aspergers is that they think the way their children are acting is somehow done on purpose just to frustrate, like they thing they are the center of the universe, them when in fact children with aspergers are just trying to do what’s best for them.

  3. Accidental Expert May 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    We too have huge issues with siblings. Unfortunately, my older daughter has tons of resentment and anger towards her siblings. I’m afraid my youngest accepts a normal that is far from the norm. Great post.

  4. Jan Whiley May 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    I am aware how lucky I am that my daughter (now 11) just gets on with life with her brother and all the drama that goes with him. He is 13 and has Aspergers and wasnt seen by CAMHS until he was 10 (and we had been trying and being refused for 5 years) when he was diagnosed immediately.
    I think my son could cope with life and we would all muddle through if it wasnt for the school bullies who make he wonder if there is any point in going on at all, at regular intervals.Having to hear your child say they might as well be dead is the hardest thing for me and my husband. Why isnt bullying treated as a serious threat to children, especially but not exclusively to those with special needs? My sons school seem to take the attitude that boys will be boys and all kids have to learn to deal with it to get on in life. My son can be punched in the face and the child receive a mere detention yet my son reacts to constant taunting about his weight by pushing a girl in the stomach and receives 2 days exclusion????
    My moan is that, is CAMHS had agreed to see him 2 yrs earlier they would have made the diagnosis before the statutory assesment gates were so firmly shut and he would be in a special unit now and maybe enjoying his life??

  5. vaguest May 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Oh thankyou, it’s not just me! My own little man, 12, has always resented the presence of his sister, 9. When she was three months old he asked me to make him a noose so he could strangle her “because I don’t want her any more.” Yet he wasn’t diagnosed until he was 9.

    A private EP we saw recently was staggered by the fact that Katie will actively wind her brother up, saying, “Has she got a death-wish?” But with a little more information he went on to suggest that she may be on the specturm too, as it shows differently in girls. Now that another sister is on the scene, I can see what he means. 😦

    But with the 3 of them at home it is like a war zone, and with the on-going SEN battle there is not enough time for any of them! Little man is at home as he can’t cope with school, I have found the perfect place and the LA won;t give it to him.

    So while I am very sorry for you and deeply sympathise with your position, I am sooooo glad that it is almost identical to mine, because it means it is NOT just me 🙂


  6. Katie May 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Sounds like you could do with a little mummy time and spend a night up west with katie.x

  7. clairelouise82 May 2, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    That’s Ok I really enjoyed reading your blog and did notice that you campaigned against bully. Which is fantastic. It was lovely to read something so positive too. I always dread the teen years but you gave me hope, especially where you relate to my post this gives me that little bit more of a boast, So thank you and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  8. Jen May 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Wow, I could have written so much ofthis myself! I have children a little younger than yours, K – 7 with Aspergers, Little Miss A 5 and Ashman 2. The relationship between your two sounds so incredibly simlar to my elder two. So so similar that it’s almost a relief to read this post because it shows this is not just happening in our house!

  9. Sue May 1, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    Thank you again for stopping by my blog. I decided to check yours out and I am glad I did. Your children’s story reminds me of my children’s younger days. Around the time my daughter was bullied, she seemed to hate her little brother. She saw his life as easy when hers never was. He had friends and he actually enjoyed spending time with them while play dates did not go well for her.

    We too got outside help and she learned violence toward her brother was not okay and he learned when to allow her time to decompress before being the typical annoying little brother. My point is that it really does get better. My son had challenges with being the “typical” kid too and now he fights against bullying and helps me get the word out to others that they need to be more tolerate of differences.

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