Laudie (mother of 3 children, including 1 autistic child): Leana um... has been through a lot, um... as a sibling to Jonathon. She’s the oldest child in the family, and she probably noticed there was something odd about Jonathon in the earlier days. She has just learnt to, she’s so resilient, she’s learnt to be such a sensitive and caring sister, she’s given him, um... a lot of space, she knows the cue that when Jonathon’s going to lash out, or have one of his huge tantrums, that she just moves away from him, gives him that time, ah... she’s just so respected by her family for what, you know, she’s done to help him.
Jerry (mother of 2 children, including 1 autistic child): Daniel has a younger sister, um... now she’s 10 years old, she goes mainstream school. She’s very good friend for Daniel. And sometimes she can help me too.
Tracey (mother of 2 children, including 1 autistic child): We talk about autism all the time, and we use the autism word in our house all the time, so they must hear that and they must know. I think he realises at some level that Jack must be different, um... but he never asks me, and he’s constantly saying, ‘Jack’s my brother, isn’t he, mum, he’s my brother.’ And he’s become a bit like, ‘Jack, come on, you need to stand in line.’ He’s become like the nurturer already, and he’s only 3.
Alison (mother of 3 children, including 1 autistic child): We never sat him down and said, ‘Jesse, you know, you’re brother's got autism’. We’ll say, you know, ‘Jesse, you know, he’s special’, and you know, all Jesse’s mates and family just see him as that.
Tracey: And they talk about the sibling’s social isolation, well even now, Max has that, coz we’ll go to a park and play, and he’ll be having a great time, he makes friends really easily when we go to parks, and then Jack will be alright for a little while and then he’ll start... flipping out and we’ll have to go, and Max knows that he’s being taken home because of Jack.
Elena (mother of 3 children, including 2 autistic children): Over the last couple of years, we have had a few talks to Charlie about Alex and Jack, and their autism. I think from a young age he kind of realised what they could and what they couldn’t do. It wasn’t that noticeable to Charlie that something was wrong with Alex, it was only the fact that they weren’t conversing as two little toddlers, but they were still interacting in a lot of ways. You know, where autism, you would think that the child is isolated, sitting there, playing, doing his own thing. Alex was social in some ways, he just had no conversation. So they could actually run around the backyard together, but they weren’t really interacting, they were just doing their own thing in the same area. Sometimes when Charlie gets cranky at Alex, we have to then explain to him that Alex is different, Alex has autism, and he’s not annoying you on purpose. One thing I would say is that I think we did the best thing keeping Alex at a separate school, because I think it’s a lot for a child to take on, um... explaining to other people what’s wrong with his brother.
Laudie: As the children have gotten older, we have had time, I’ve made time to be with Leana, we’ve gone on little shopping days, and been to the cinemas together and we’d have some lunch together. And I’d let her know then how much I love her, and that she’s very... helpful and needed and wanted, and the same with little George, he’s had times with his dad, sometimes if he’s had a day off from school, he’ll go to work with dad, and have a really great day with him. You know, it’s really hard to do something like that, but if you wanna make things work, you’ve just got to put in a bit of time into those sort of things.