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Last Updated: 04/12/2018

 Inspirational Stories

Ha Ha! Jonathan IS a Little Brother
from Autism @

This morning there was a brief skirmish over the VCR. Not an atypical situation in a family of children, of course, but this skirmish had an interesting twist to it.

This weekend the local videotape rental store had a customer appreciation day. So of course, being our civic duty, we trooped down and picked up six videotapes; three for the kids and three for me. The kids selected "Shrek", "Princess Diaries" and "Paulie." I selected my three, amongst them "What Dreams May Come." I am sure readers of this site will understand why I wanted to watch that film again.

At any rate, Jon went through his films last night and this morning. Apparently one viewing of "Shrek" was enough for him (I can certainly understand why), and "Princess Diaries" did not appeal to his newfound sense of masculinity. Being that we have a parrot, perhaps "Paulie" just didn't hold any intrigue. But Jon did want to watch a movie and he selected "What Dreams May Come."

To give a little history on this, I was watching that film last night. Hannah, Jon's sister who is older by less than one year, had attempted to come downstairs and watch it with me. It was around 10:00pm and quite frankly this was a movie I needed to watch alone and I shooed her out and sent her to bed. She of course, interpreted that to mean that it was a movie not appropriate for her age of 11. Whether the movie is or is not appropriate is not the point of this article but the resulting actions of this morning certainly are.

Jon went through the stack of six movies we had rented and selected "What Dreams May Come." I was upstairs working on my laptop and Hannah decided in her older sister wisdom that this was no more appropriate for him than it had been for her the previous evening. And of course, a scuffle broke out.

All I knew for sure was there was a lot of hollering going on downstairs and when I called Hannah to find out what on earth was going on THIS time, she came up with the tape saying that Jon was watching the film that I wouldn't let her watch. She of course had no idea of the reason I hadn't wanted her to watch it. But she did know that she needed to protect her brother from himself - something that is just part of the life of a child with an Autistic sibling.

When she brought the "offending" tape upstairs to inform me that Jon was watching this movie and of course "told on him", Jon was right behind her. He didn't look happy. In fact, he looked quite peeved and was he verbal I am sure there would have been a heated exchange between the two kids. Being nonverbal, he resorted to a lot of foot stamping and a pretty mean glare at his sister.

I considered the film for a moment and decided that it was okay for Jon to watch it. I said to Hannah, "It's okay, he can watch it." Of course that had to result in a small argument with Hannah and me but after explaining to her that it wasn't that I was keeping the film from her but wanted my own private time last night, I think she understood. I handed the film back to Jon and told him to go back downstairs and watch the movie. Then Jon delivered the line that absolutely made my morning.

He looked directly at his sister and said, "Ha Ha." As clear as a bell. Not laughter. Not giggling without meaning. But a sarcastic and triumphant "Ha Ha". And she was left speechless. As was I. Until he left and I busted up laughing. (Hannah has yet to see the humor in this.)

But today Jonathan cemented himself as a true "little brother." He took on his sister in a disagreement, he and she brought it to me, I ruled in his favor and he got a chance to deliver a verbal dig. What more is a little brother supposed to do in life? It seems to me that he performed his job quite well.

Perhaps at times in trying to accommodate for Autism, we overlook the issues that are just normal for kids. Kids are going to argue if they are siblings. They are going to look for every chance they can to get the other one in trouble. They are going to forge a lifetime bond while they are trying to totally make each other miserable. That is part of life. It is part of being siblings. True, you must watch for those times when it gets out of control but by allowing kids to solve their own problems allows non-Autistic children to accept Autism for what it is and you also allow the Autistic child to interact on that level that all siblings interact on.

Today Hannah lost an argument with her brother. Today she learned he can hold his own a little better than she thought. Today she learned she is not the only one who has opinions. Today we all learned that Jonathan can stand up for himself a little better than we realized.

And to quote my son: HA HA!

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