How autism shapes sibling relationships

Having an autistic brother or sister can pose challenges, but it can also make children patient, empathetic and resilient.
BY 

I know my challenges at times effect how the family reacts to me. Good article. – Greg

In late March, Michelle Byamugisha reached out to a local celebrity in an email with the subject line “A Message for Your Biggest Fan, My Autistic Brother.” It was two weeks into the coronavirus-related lockdown, and her 34-year-old brother, who has significant speech challenges and likes to be called Mark B, was distraught. Deprived of his cooking class, bowling and other favorite activities, he was feeling so low he could barely get out of bed.

As the family discussed what to do, Byamugisha had an idea. Her brother is fascinated by weather and has for years tuned in every evening to broadcasts from meteorologist Steve Rudin of WJLA in Washington, D.C. What if Mark B heard from Rudin directly? That might jolt him out of the doldrums, Byamugisha reasoned. read more

Losing sleep: How researchers miss a key contributor to autism

BY LUCIA PEIXOTO, ANNETTE ESTES 16 JULY 2020

I can relate to having sleep issues – Greg

Most people with autism — up to 86 percent — have trouble sleeping . Their sleep problems often include the hallmarks of insomnia: difficulty falling asleep, waking up multiple times during the night and getting less sleep than average. Animal models of autism display these same signs, suggesting that sleep problems may arise from fundamental mechanisms conserved across species. But scientists do not yet know what these mechanisms are, much less why insomnia is so prevalent in autistic people.

Autism researchers and clinicians commonly refer to insomnia as a comorbidity, meaning that it only accompanies autism. However, we suggest that doctors and scientists may need to consider it as an integral part of the condition and begin to study sleep in more rigorous ways — for instance, using technology in place of surveys and questionnaires.

read more

Dear Parents: Your Child With Autism Is Perfect

By 

Children with autism express themselves truthfully regardless of the social consequences. I know, because I am autistic.

Dearest parent of a child with autism,

You are the chosen one. Yes, it is your job to guide and support the world’s most dynamic, creative, honest and disciplined creature. Congratulations.

Being the parent of an autistic child means being the parent of everybody’s unacknowledged needs and feelings. It’s no small task. Children with autism embody the sensitivities and passions of your friends, family and co-workers — only amplified. When they stim in a supermarket queue to release pent-up frustration, or they weep uncontrollably at the dinner table because they can’t find the words to express themselves, or they focus on doing what they love for hours on end, they are shamelessly displaying what others are too frightened to. Read more