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Lisa Haberman MSW (Masters in Social Work )

 "TITLE: Family and Sibling Issues, Tips from a Sibling"

Wednesday, December 4th at 7 p.m. (Eastern), Note portions of the text have been edited for spelling and grammatical errors, while other text with errors was left in tact in the context of the chat.
 

Sunny {public msg} Starting in about 25 minutes in the talkAutism Room.  Please join us for Family and Sibling Issues.  Tips from a Sibling - Lisa Haberman, MSW
Lisa Haberman {enters}
Rebecca {public msg} hello Lisa! Welcome back
Sunny {public msg} Hi Lisa
Rebecca {action}  Smiles.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Thanks
Lesliear {public msg} Hi Lisa
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Hi
Rebecca {public msg} Nice to have you with us again Lisa
Sunny {public msg} Hello and Welcome to our talk Autism Specialty Chat.  If you have a question for our Host Guest Speaker, Family and Sibling Issues, Tips from a Sibling - Lisa Haberman, MSW, just type a ? in the room.  The names will be taken in order received.  Please hold your questions until you are cued by the Moderator.  Thanks.
Rebecca {public msg} Lisa's Bio if anyone wants to read up a bit before the chat, Click here
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Hi
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Sibling issues are a fairly new area in the field and there's not a lot of research
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I'm going to share some information based on my experiences growing up with an autistic brother
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Feel free to ask questions any time
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Parents don't always realize the effect the autistic sibling has on the other children
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Parents need to give guidance to all the children in the home
Lisa Haberman {public msg} You need to try to keep all the children involved as much as possible in what's taking place
Rebecca {public msg} ?
Mommyo {public msg} ?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} The Conflicts are resolved when parents are aware of the impact of the autistic children on the rest of the family. Growing up, my parents always kept me involved as much as possible with my brother. There were times, looking back I now realize I was jealous and didn't speak up when I should of. My parents relied on me often to help out with him.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} It's important that parents try to spend quality time with all the children on an individual basis
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Sometimes, parents become overprotective

Moderator {public msg} Rebecca has a question, go ahead Rebecca
Rebecca {public msg} Were you the older, or younger sibling and did it affect your school years growing up? How did your parents initially get you involved and keep you interested as far as level of compassion and understanding.
Rebecca {public msg} Sorry, couple questions there...
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I'm the older, it's just the 2 of us
Mommyo {public msg} How old is your brother now?  What would you say is the best thing about having an autistic brother for you?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Growing up was difficult,
Lisa Haberman {public msg} He's 36
Lisa Haberman {public msg} My parents didn't get me involved, I did on my own by trying to always interact with him
Rebecca {public msg} Was it hard to learn compassion and understanding?
Rebecca {public msg} Hard to word that question
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I guess what I've learned is to have a lot of understanding and patience
Lisa Haberman {public msg} It was hard sometimes, my parents explained things on a level I could understand
Rebecca {public msg} So, sort of like a parent? basically?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} This was increased as I got older and asked the questions
Rebecca {public msg} ahhhhhh ok
Lisa Haberman {public msg} School was a challenge, I was careful about friends I brought home
Rebecca {action} Thinks jealousy in and sibling household is typical, under any circumstance.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Yes,
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Jealousy happens I think in any home
Lisa Haberman {public msg} You also deal with resentment, embarrassment, being upset etc..
Rebecca {public msg} Ok, can I ask , how your parents got past the jealousy part? I mean easing your understanding by educating you?
Rebecca {public msg} Awwwww I bet
Lisa Haberman {public msg} These are normal feelings and parents need to be aware of them
Rebecca {public msg} I see
Lisa Haberman {public msg} They need to try to talk to the children and ask what's happening and try to get a response
Rebecca {public msg} Growing up is hard enough...
Lisa Haberman {public msg} If you don't you need to keep trying.
Communication is extremely important. Communication is something I don't think I had enough of growing up. My parents sometimes assumed things were ok.
Onegary {public msg} ?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I didn't always speak up when I should have
Lesliear {public msg} ?
Rebecca {public msg} and they didn't ask I imagine.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I was resentful, embarrassed, etc.. At times but never said anything. My parents didn't ask since they didn't see an issue.

Moderator {public msg} Onegary has the next question, go ahead Gary
Onegary {public msg} I have three children 8,6,5 the oldest having autism.  They are great kids (all three) but we place a burden on the two youngest
Lisa Haberman {public msg} How
Onegary {public msg} We try to make things special for them but I worry that they will feel this burden has been pushed on them any advise
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I don't think that will happen as long as you don't keep things from them. Try spending some separate time with them.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} This may help.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} How is it a burden if you keep them informed and help them understand.
Onegary {public msg} I guess it is a sense of guilt I feel-  not be able to take them to parties as Chris freaks out at parties, some kids parents not wanting to come over because they don't understand Chris
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Try to communicate and ask them how they feel
Mommyo {public msg} I see my children feeling that Robby is a burden when it stops our family of doing things that is fun
Lisa Haberman {public msg} That's understandable
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I know how difficult. it is to spend quality time on a individual basis
Mommyo {public msg} ?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} But you may want to and try talking to them about their feelings
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I didn't bring friends home from school at times because I was afraid of their reactions to my brother.
Lesliear {public msg} Did you ever retaliate against your brother, for feeling he got more attention?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Not really, I kept a lot to myself
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I retaliated sometimes by keeping to myself
Rebecca {public msg} ?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I was never abusive towards him except to yell sometimes
Lesliear {public msg} My daughters once told me, they wished they where him, and I replied, you want to live like he does?  they never asked again
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Usually in frustration.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} That's not an unusual feeling.
Onegary {public msg} ?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Sometimes I wonder what it's like for my brother.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I wonder how he sees things different then us.

Moderator {public msg} Mommyo has the next question, go ahead mommy.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} He has a difficult. time explaining, saying things.
Mommyo {public msg} I feel the same guilt as Onegary, and it really doesn't seem fair to our typical children.  My kids have cried and complained that it is not fair that Robby ruins everything for them.  I don't know how to make the situation better for them.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} That's hard.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} All you can try to do is spend time with them maybe without Robby as hard as that is.
Mommyo {public msg} I also wonder what Robby is feeling.  It breaks my heart that I don't understand him.
Lesliear {public msg} ?
Lisa Haberman {public msg} It gets very aggravating when your plans get stopped beyond your control.
Mommyo {public msg} I wish I new how he felt.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I wish I knew how my brother felt.
Mommyo {public msg} I agree.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I think growing up, we didn't do much because my parents were afraid my brother might make things difficult.
Mommyo {public msg} I usually tell my other kids that I am sorry, but I can't help it.  That sometimes life isn't fair.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} That's true.
Mommyo {public msg} I hate that answer for them.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I felt that growing up many times.
Mommyo {public msg} I wish it was easier for all of us.
Mommyo {public msg} Thanks.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} It's normal that siblings want their own life and their feelings need to come out which is the hard part.
Rebecca {action} . o O ( keep the lines of communication open. )
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I always helped out without question or giving my parents a hard time.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} My teen years were very hard.

Moderator {public msg} Onegary had the next question, go ahead Gary.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Sometimes it's also normal for parents to be resentful.
Onegary {public msg} as my two 'typical" kids bring friend's over-  what is the best way to discuss their brother's disability with them-  talk to their parents first? Don't say anything?  Chris makes allot of people very nervous if they are not use to a child with Autism.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} That's hard.
Onegary {public msg} What would you suggest.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} First talk to your other kids and it's a good idea sometimes to talk to the parents. Every case is different. Try to use simple terms talking to the other children. you need to speak to them at a level they can understand. Try to maybe prepare them for what they might see/happen. Depending on the age of the other children.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} You may want to say little and see what happens or give them some guidance while interacting.
Onegary {public msg} Its funny my kids tend to do that them selves at super market when cashier talks to Chris, my baby daughter says he has Autism, so he may not want to talk to you-  his brain works different from most people.
Onegary {public msg} Thanks-  she's a cutie.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Kids have a way of understanding/seeing things before or difficult. then adults do.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I always tried to include my brother in everything since he didn't have many friends.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} He didn't go to the local schools.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} The area kids knew he was different.
Mommyo {public msg} I like to tell my younger daughters friends that Robby has autism, he can't talk, and he likes to run around, buy he really likes that you have come over even if he doesn't show it.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} That's great.
Mommyo {public msg} They usually stare at him at first, but then they get use to him.

Moderator {public msg} Lesliear has the next question, go ahead les.
Mommyo {public msg} Some of them have even taken a real liking to him now.
Lesliear {public msg} Have you ever thought of a safe room for the child?  It allows the others to have their time and yet the child is safe and content where he is. (sorry more of an idea then a question)
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Parent's aren't uncaring, but sometimes unconsciously neglect the other children.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Good idea.
Mommyo {public msg} What is a safe room?
Lesliear {public msg} We took the dining room, put a half wall between the dining room and living room, and a half door between the dining room and the kitchen.  It was his area no one else allowed in there.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Sometimes parents feel overburdened and give responsibilities of the autistic child to the others.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} This is a role reversal, not unusual and usually done on an unconscious basis.
Onegary {public msg} ?
Mommyo {public msg} I know I have done this with my kids, it is unintended like you said but it happens.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Siblings always go through periods of resentment, jealousy etc.. but don't always say it.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Your aware of it which is the important thing.
Mommyo {public msg} How can I get my kids to express more of their true feelings.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Things become more of an issue as sib. get older.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Just keep trying to talk to them and acknowledge what they do tell you.
Rebecca {action} . o O ( private talks, bedtime tuck in works best here. )
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Try to spend some time separately with them and talk.

Moderator {public msg} Onegary has the next question, go ahead Onegary.
Onegary {public msg} how important is it for the sibs to have their own stuff that is only their own.
Mommyo {public msg} Good question.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Very important.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} They need to have things of their own that help them feel separate but also part of the family.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I had my own interests separate growing up.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} My brother also had his own things he liked.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} My parents always felt we should have/do our own things.
Onegary {public msg} do you have friends that also had a sib with a disability.
Moderator {public msg} all children should have their own things.
Rebecca {action}  agrees whole-heartedly.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I had one, their sib. had CP.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} Actually another friend had epilepsy.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} My brother always lived home.
Lisa Haberman {public msg} I guess, growing up I didn't share with my parents since I felt they had enough to deal with my brothers needs.
Rebecca {public msg} Thank you all for coming and Thanks Lisa for your time and helpful insight.


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