My goal of writing every day this month was for Autism Awareness (& Acceptance) Month, which is why I have been concentrating almost exclusively on M. But today, in searching for what topic to write on, I realized that K really deserves the spotlight for a minute.
For one thing, K is amazing in her own right, and also has her own special needs from her high level of giftedness. She has had an amazing year. All As and A+s this year, after grade accelerating, being placed into a gifted program, and now accepted into the highest gifted program available nearby due to her SAT scores (she just turned 11). She was accepted as a returning scholar in a scholarship program for academic achievement and humanitarian work, for the 3rd year in a row. She is part of a small leadership group at her school. She has continued to work hard and miss little school despite struggling with chronic mono. Her love of learning in all subjects is amazing. Today she was excited to share a wealth of information on a number of topics, from her current vulture observations to the properties of Mars to Hieroglyphics to drawing optical illusions and pottery.
But none of this is really what I wanted to share. Having M as a sister has at times been quite difficult for K. First of all, she was almost 6 when M was born and didn’t particularly want to lose her status as only child. Then M required much more than her share of attention over the years. Also, K just does not understand M, their minds work so very differently. She has tried off and on to understand, occasionally being a big help with M, doing things with her and teaching her things.
This week, K came home with a new book from the school library. It was a sort of reference/self help kind of book for kids with autistic siblings. She wanted to read it. She WANTED to UNDERSTAND. She started asking a lot of questions. What an amazing young woman, to voluntarily seek out a way to understand her sister, and to help herself cope as a sibling, as well.
This has been an extremely bad week for M. She is starting to show behaviors we have not seen since the beginning of the fall. Today she even got in trouble at school for screaming at the para pro, whom she adores, and she rarely has problems at school that get a note sent home. K has stepped in to help her sister when I have been trying to make dinner or complete my own homework. She has spoken calmly to her and made proprioceptive activities and exercises for M to do to help calm her. She has not once lost her temper with M this week, in a week where M has constantly been losing her temper with everyone else. I know she wants to be an oceanographer and geophysicist, but I think she would also make an excellent occupational therapist ;).
I couldn’t be more proud of my girl than when she is helping another person. And as a kid, siblings can be the hardest people to forgive and help. I have some pretty amazing kids. 🙂