Last week, I wrote an essay challenging Time Magazine’s choice of a title for its story on siblings of kids with autism. I believed calling the siblings “autism’s invisible victims” was inappropriate and offensive.
The disgust I felt over the title choice overshadowed the article itself, which made many good points if one could get past the demonization and victimization.
The author of the story – a psychologist named Barbara Cain – had previously written a book called Autism – The Invisible Cord: A Sibling’sDiary
. I decided to download her book and see how she described life as an autism sibling. I wondered what I would find.
I read the book in an hour, and all I can say is, what a delight! It’s a sweet and gentle account of Jenny and her life with Ezra, her autistic brother. There’s not a trace of victimization in the book and indeed I recommend it highly to anyone who has a sibling living with autism in their life.
Barbara’s story – told in the form of short diary entries – really shows what is feels like to grow up with a brother who’s different – the joy, the hurt, the desire to protect him and the hope he will grow up and make a life on his own.
Reading her words, I thought of my own childhood, and that of my son, who also has autism. If we’d had sisters, would they have been like the Jen of the book? I hope so.
Kudos to Barbara for a wonderful story that any sibling or family could treasure.