Autism can have profound effects not only on the person affected with autism, but also on family members.
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In Autism and Me: Sibling Stories, Ouisie Shapiro tries to shed light on how the siblings of autistic children are affected. This book is written quite simply and would be very easy for kids from grades 3 on up to read themselves.
The book contains two to three pages devoted to a sibling talking about their sibling with autism. Several different children are features–sometimes the autistic sibling is older, sometimes younger.
However, because this book is so simply written, I feel it’s a bit deceiving. Some kids say things like, “I don’t like it when she pulls my hair or hits” referring to the autistic sibling, but those comments are only briefly mentioned. Instead, the book has a lot of children saying how much they love their autistic sibling and appreciate their uniqueness.
While I appreciate the sentiment, I would have liked to have seen a more balanced approach. Having a sibling with autism can be both good and bad. I wish the book reflected more of the difficulty so siblings of autistic children would not feel that they are alone or that the mixed emotions that they feel such as anger, sadness, and shame, make them “bad.”
I give this book 3 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.