Autism: It's Nobody's Fault When It's Hard
I don't have a photo of her and Leo from yesterday, when she got into a teen defiance spiral while we were in the car, and wouldn't stop yelling, wouldn't stop shrieking even when I said she needed to stop because she was upsetting Leo. He ended up losing his temper completely and whomping her. I wouldn't want a picture of that.
Afterward, she cried and cried and said she was sorry -- but she also said it isn't fair that she has to behave in certain ways so Leo won't get upset. I said I was really sorry he hit her, and I was glad she was OK -- but that the situation was completely preventable. I reminded her that Leo has both sensitive hearing (yelling is painful) and extreme emotional sensitivity (if other people are upset, he becomes even more so and will do anything to make it stop). Getting upset was not his fault. If we want to help him control himself, we have to control ourselves. (That it is never acceptable to yell the way she was yelling is another, puberty-driven issue.)
Accommodation is part of being part of an autism family. It's just what we do. And while we may wish things were easier for Leo because it is hard to be intensely autistic in an NT world, and while I understand that it's not easy for kids and even parents to have to change their behaviors for another child's sake -- accommodating others' needs is the deal in any family. It's just that accommodations can be more obvious when a family member is disabled.
I told Iz and Mali that it's OK to discuss situations that are hard. But I also told them it is not acceptable to blame Leo, or resent him, because of circumstances over which he has no control or which are part of his autism (e.g., they are welcome to chastise him if he steals a piece of their pizza).
Leo is always doing his best, he just got through a week of chaotic family gatherings, his sisters know he's a capable kid. He also needs us to support him as best we can, and avoid avoidable crises. He deserves nothing less.
Side note: I've been blogging for 9 years as of yesterday. And this is my 2,500th post. Holy hell.