Let me give you a little background first. My sister is a director for a swim camp in FL. She has never truly understood what I go through with my son. She has never really understood what my son is going through.
She is up here visiting and is staying at my parents house with her family. We had a discussion about a conference she went to recently. She heard a lecture about teaching children with autism how to swim. She went on and on about how you have to adjust teaching methods for children with autism because the spectrum is so big and you have to adjust for each child.
I held my tongue. She wasn’t saying anything that I didn’t already know. I wanted to scream at her that I am a mom of an autistic child and know all of this. I didn’t. I just sat there and took it.
Later, she started talking about her daughter, my niece. She told me that they believe she is dyslexic and will be tested when they go back home. She went on to say how her little girl is doing good, that children with a problem tend to adapt or compensate for their disability. She was lecturing me about disabilities. She was educating me about how children cope with one. She was explaining things to ME!
I snapped. I’m sorry, I know that I should have been more sympathetic, but I had heard enough. I told her she was “preaching to the choir.” She responded “I know, but this is all new to me and I am just learning about it.” My son is ten years old and autistic. Her nephew! Why is she just learning about child with disabilities now?
I am sympathetic for what she and my niece are going through, but at the time I was just fed up. Visiting with my family is stressful, but I do it because we all really do love each other. My children enjoy being around their extended family. My son had a really good time yesterday, as did my daughter. If they weren’t, I may have packed everyone up and left early. Believe me, I considered it. In the end, I let it go and tried to enjoy what was left of the day.
You may read this and think I am a terrible person because I lashed out at my sister. That’s ok. I’m human and there are times when I just can’t help but be bitchy. Maybe, if she had called me and said “I think my daughter is dyslexic and could use your help?” or anything that remotely acknowledged that I have been where she is, I would have been sympathet. Instead, I get the news and then a lecture. Yes, dyslexia is extremely different then autism, but I know what is is like to discover that your child has a disability. You would think that I would have been the first person that she contacted when she found out. I suppose that I should also admit that I just wish we were close enough and that she respected me enough to turn to me. As the older sister, she has always treated me as the baby sister that she has to educate. Given our current ages, I want her to realize what she is doing and stop. I will be seeing her again on Saturday. There is going to be a big family get together and I hope things go better.