It is hard to be the sister of an autistic little brother. There are often times when Micah needs more attention just because of his particular needs at that moment. At 3 yrs of age, he is still 2 yrs behind in many areas of his development and is unable to do things that a 12 month old can do, such as feed himself finger foods. Though a preschooler in age, he is more like an infant in some ways. Between helping him with his basic needs and doing therapy activities with him to help him learn and develop the skills he is missing, I am also tending the home and homeschooling Abbie.
Abbie has always been a content and quiet child. She is happy and enjoys the moment much of the time. Because she is so content, I have to watch closely that she is not overlooked and is given the individual attention that all children need. In many ways, I feel that the siblings of a special needs child have a greater need for individual attention than a sibling of a typical child does. Try to see it from their perspective. The special needs child is catered to and can get the parents' attention on them very fast, How often does a parent drop everything they are doing to go to the aid of their special needs child? Yes, we should be there to give necessary assistance, but to a typical child, this can cause feelings of jealousy or a sense of being left out. We expect the typical child to adapt and be compassionate to their sibling's need of our seemingly constant attention. For a young child, this can be very difficult.
Abbie is great with Micah. She adores him and watches over him as they play. When playing together, she is often playing near him as he walks in circles around or beside her. Many times, she can even get him to stop and touch her toys or otherwise engage him in play. She is realizing that Micah is different, but it doesn't bother her. He is simply Micah. I love seeing their relationship. It is obvious that they love each other. Micah will often go to her when she is sitting on the floor and simply play with her hair. They are a blessing and a gift to watch. That being said however, I don't want to ever have her feel that my time spent with Micah is more precious to me than my time with her. I don't ever want her to begin to feel left out because of the time I spend working on therapy activities or tending to Micah's basic needs. So I thought of a special activity just for Abbie and I.
Abbie saw a kids' magazine, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, with a picture of a child's tea party fashioned after the Alice in Wonderland story. Along with the pictures were a few recipes. She became very excited and wanted to have a tea party. This inspired me to the idea of having an afternoon tea with Abbie while Micah is napping each day. She loves the idea. So, I am going to find a couple of pretty, dainty tea cups with saucers for us to use. Then plan on having a tea party with little sandwiches and a treat. It will be our special time together.
Another way that I am going to have the one-on-one time with her is when we work on her Keeper of the Faith program. The program falls mainly under the Life Skills heading in our homeschooling. Some of the skills she has asked to do are cooking & baking with me, learning basic hand sewing, painting, and scrapbooking. These are all things that we will be doing together.
I am looking forward to having a special time set aside for Abbie. She is a joy and a lot of fun to do things with. I am also looking forward to making a new tradition as well as memories with her.