Being the sibling of someone with severe autism is supposedly a bit of a mixed bag. Research shows both benefits and potential problems for siblings. Archie’s brothers are younger than him so have always had autism in the family, they’ve never had to adjust and both have grown up very accepting and protective of their brother. The main disadvantages centre around certain activities being difficult for Archie. Trips to the cinema or Pizza Hut tend to take place when Archie is elsewhere for example. In the case of Pizza Hut a reduction in the number of visits might be seen as an advantage by some.
Archie has always rubbed along well enough with his brothers. He was a bit shocked by Joseph’s appearance – probably our fault, we misjudged how much he might understand and so didn’t tell him that much in advance – a baby just appeared. When Louis was born Archie showed a real interest, and didn’t even object when a toddling Louis would make himself comfortable on his lap.
However, in all these years communication has been a bit lacking. Archie tended to communicate mainly with me prior to the arrival of the talker – presumably because I was the person most likely to understand him. But gradually over the last year he has started to talk directly to his brothers a lot. He often asks them to find something for him on Google Maps or YouTube, and in the photos below he’s telling them it’s time for lunch.