If you want to know how to respond to a child with autism, watch their siblings.  Children who grow up with a brother or sister with autism seem to have natural instincts for interaction, acceptance, and inclusion.

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Ava has helped Lucas as a second mother since we brought him home.  She was just under 3 years old, but she jumped in ready to help.  She didn't care that his skin was different than hers, that he acted differently than her, or that he needed so much time and attention...she just gave it to him.  If he played upside down, she played upside down beside him.  If he needed help with his cup, she helped him.  If she couldn't go to an event because of Lucas, she didn't complain...not once. 

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Jacob, though older, was less enthusiastic about his brother at first, though still kind.  I remember him saying "this wasn't what I had in mind".  That was a perfectly normal and wonderful way to put it.  Lucas wasn't quite what I had in mind either.  Over time, Jacob found ways to connect with Lucas.  Sharing his love for gaming, he learned to code video games to incorporate things that Lucas loves.  When he noticed Lucas's hands were too small for fidget spinners, he designed him one that functioned.  Jacob is my go-to for fixing things and creating things for Lucas.  That, too, is an incredible gift.

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The role Lucas's younger sister has taken on recently has been both facinating and remarkable to watch. She came to me recently said "I think he's a little bit different, Mommy."  What a perfect way to put it.  She's still smaller than him (though quickly gaining) and at 4, she has taken on an unusual role as a younger sister of a 7 year old.  She nurtures him.  She helps me find things we need.  If he's "missing" (man is he quick), she helps me find him.

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It can be a lot to be a sibling of a Lucas....but it's also a tremendous blessing.  He is one of a kind and we are all so lucky to have him.  We have open and honest conversations about frustrations.  We allow our kids to be transparent about their feelings, but honestly....they really don't air many grievances about their role or the nature of our family.  They seem content and happy with what we have and who we are, each of us. That is a gift in itself. 

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 Here is a reading of Our Brother Lucas, as read by Ava. 

You can download Our Brother, Lucas on Teachers Pay Teachers or Boom Learning

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