When Eddie was born, Sasha was already 8 years old. I kept looking for a good article to read as to how to prepare a child on the spectrum for the arrival of the sibling. There is plenty of information on what to tell your older child when the new baby arrives in the parenting magazines and on parenting forums, but hardly any information on the challenges of explaining the situation to the child who has special needs or is non verbal. As if our children with their condition and all the issues coming with this do not exist for the media. Even the occupational therapist wasn't clear which books to suggest. The ones she mentioned were aimed at any neuro typical child and are those widely available online. I bought a couple of books on Amazon along the lines "I am the big brother" etc, neither of which did any impression on Sasha. He completely ignored them and wasn't interested in talks or books about babies. So, it was with great trepidation that we awaited the arrival of our second child, not knowing how it would affect Sasha. I joked that it might be such a shock for Sasha that he might start talking (it didn't happen). And as I had an elective caesarean and had to be away in the hospital for a few nights, I was very anxious. How would my son cope without me, I never left him for a night (apart from the very first night in the hospital when he was born, I was high on drugs and too exhausted to argue, and Sasha was whisked away). Thankfully, my Mum was here to help, and I will be eternally grateful to her for her patience. I know how difficult it was to deal with Sasha on her own, when my husband took me to the hospital. But she managed.
15 months later, Sasha is slowly adapting to having a little bother of a brother around. There are times when he is immensely annoyed with Eddie. Eddie adores Sasha, whom he insists on calling Papa. Sasha cannot do anything wrong in his eyes. Even when Sasha is being difficult and non-cooperative and noisy to the extreme, Eddie looks at him with adoration and love. For him Sasha is normal.
Sasha also has his moments of affection for his little brother. He would come and spontaneously kiss him or hug him, and my heart melts.He usually kisses him on the head, like the politicians do.
The other day we were in the bookshop and Sasha kissed Eddie who was sitting in his pushchair. Some old lady was impressed, and I thought: Little do you know.
There are rare moments when Sasha entertains Eddie by playing with him. As long as Eddie doesn't touch his laptop or DVD player, then Sasha would let me know I should look better after the baby.
I love this photo. It is not of great quality, as I had no time to adjust the lens, but I love this look of gentle affection shining in Sasha's eyes. It is a genuine love, not something staged for the sake of the camera, and that's why it is a precious snap for me.