Just the other day I was asked to volunteer my time by answering questions on the site: AllExperts.com–and since I’m pretty darn fond of answering questions and sharing what I know… well… it was a no brainer! Or should I say a “healthy brainer”! Ha! Brain Broad humor! Anyway…. once my credentials were approved and my profile was up I immediately received a question.
And it was a doozy.
By ‘doozy’ I don’t mean hard for me to answer. I mean it was a big, multilayered question. Much more about society and responsibility than autism. The question came from the sibling of an autistic adult and she wanted to know how responsible she was for her brother’s ability and skills. She wondered about society’s responsibility to our loved ones on the autism spectrum. My answer was something I teach all over the globe, and it’s important. So with love and hope for you and your family, I share it here as well!
Please share too.
aka THE BRAIN BROAD
Thank you for this beautiful multi-layered question.
In fact you are not your brother’s keeper. He is his own keeper. Though you and your family may always be his help-mate it is important to understand that even in the lowest functioning individual with autism there is a measure of choice being played out. Too often everyone in the environment assumes all the responsibility for the behavior of their loved one.
Autism is complex and no one individual is ever to blame for the functioning level of an adult with autism.
That being said your feelings as a child sibling likely did impact his growth but there is no way to know if he was effected in a way that made him try harder or to not try at all. So since you can’t actually be sure how he has or will respond to your feeling actions I suggest you simply be the best you can be in each given moment from today on … after all the rest is – as they say – history.
As for your question about social responsibility, I don’t believe society is responsible for our loved ones behaviors, autistic or not. However the people in our society can be complicit in the help or added harm of the individual. Thus it is best to keep our eyes on the present with an intention of creating a healthy future.