Talking about autism…

I have struggled with how to talk to Alyssa about autism. she is well aware of Courtney’s differences. We will talk about that but I barely ever refer to Courtney as having autism to Alyssa.

Alyssa has been seeing a psychologist for a couple months now. This is to help her with some anxiety we are seeing and some of the struggles she has with being a special needs sibling. For this week’s session we watched some Sesame Street Videos of Julia, the character with autism.

Alyssa knows Julia. She saw the episode where they first introduced her. We actually have a Julia doll. We’ve shared with her that Julia has autism just like Courtney but never went in to a discussion further than that.

Today while watching videos of Julia I asked Alyssa if she knew anyone with autism and she immediately said Courtney. We then talked about ways Julia and Courtney are similar. We also watched a video that had Julia’s mom, dad, and brother in it so talked about how our families were similar. I felt it was our first real discussion about autism. Such a bitter sweet moment.

After her session Alyssa caught me off guard with a question. She asked why she has a sister with autism. It made me a little emotional. I had no idea what she meant by the question or how to answer the question. Honestly, Alyssa, I don’t know why. So I gave her the only answer I could give her…”because we are the perfect family for Courtney”.

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