Banner
    Building on Each Other's Strengths as a Way of Minimizing Challenges: Siblings Rule
    By Kim Wombles | July 26th 2012 09:13 AM | 5 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Kim

    Instructor of English and psychology and mother to three on the autism spectrum.

    Writer of the site countering.us (where most of these

    ...

    View Kim's Profile
    As the mother to three wonderful kids on the spectrum, I am given a unique opportunity to watch how each handles his and her challenges differently, and even better, how they come together as a triad to work out how the world works and ways to navigate an increasingly more complex world where social skills are vital to getting ahead and where deficits in language can cause huge misunderstandings.





    Listening to my girls chat with each other is often a delight--the things I learn about how they process information really is priceless. Lily works hard to decode speech and the subtext, and will crow proudly when she thinks she's got it--"Sarcasm!" she will yell, arm outstretched and pointing, all while wearing a fierce grin of accomplishment. She's the same when she figures out something is a metaphor. And then she has a tendency to repeat the metaphor over and over, as if trying to fix it in her mind.


    Last night's idiom was "drank the kool-aid" which she picked up from Warehouse 13. Over and over we heard her repeat it. This morning, while watching Good Morning America, it was "holding down the fort."


    She's a bright young lady with a fair assessment of what she naturally misses, so watching her actively create workarounds is a fascinating exercise--listening to her try to explain it all to Rosie is truly an experience.


    The girls bicker with each other, and it's illuminating to listen them. Together, they are actively seeking to understand how the world works, what things mean, why people act the way they do. They are each other's best assets. Add in Bobby to the mix, and while part of your head might want to explode, it's a triad of deeply opinionated siblings working to figure it all out and help each other see what one sees. It's loud, it's messy, but it's an independent (of me and their father) exercise. 


    It is a tremendous relief to see them work together, to stand together, to debate it out. Together, the three of them are stronger, smarter, more astute than when alone, and that ought to be a lesson to all of us parents--sibling relationships and interdependence are something we need to create an environment to allow blossoming. Where we have only children, we want to work hard to create opportunities for our kids to connect with cousins, near neighbors, support groups where they can network with other individuals on the spectrum. 



    Arm in arm, pulling the others along with them, our children go out into the world stronger.
















    Comments

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Arm in arm, pulling the others along with them, our children go out into the world stronger. 
    Lovely article Kim, reminds me of a couple of photos I once took of kids cooperating on our local beach.




    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    kwombles
    Thanks, Helen. Gorgeous pictures!
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    rholley
    A beautiful article.

    Here is a neighbour’s 19-year old cat, interrupted in the process of cleaning itself.  I tried to get it with its arms and legs at all angles, like some bizarre cuttlefish, but my shutter finger is not fast enough.


     
     
    Arm in arm — I couldn’t find an exact equivalent, but here is “hand in hand” in Welsh:




     
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    kwombles
    Gorgeous cat,--I'd have never believed he was that old! Loved the song even though I didn't understand any of it. :) 
    I've been so proud to watch my three grow in independence this summer--of course, with it has come some "lip." My Lily told me I didn't know how to fold laundry better than her--guess whose new chore is laundry folding? 
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” --MLK, Jr.
    rholley
    That cat really is nineteen years old.  I asked our neighbour, and they have to let him out by the front door, since he can no longer climb or jump their garden wall.

    As for the laundry folding, I have generally found the reverse tactic does not work — “you’ve still got to do it anyway!”

    “Though one may be overpowered,
        two can defend themselves.
    A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”



    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England