Having a sibling on the autism spectrum

Amy: Interview 12

Age at interview: 17

Brief outline: Amy's younger brother, Harry, was diagnosed with autism approximately eighteen months ago. He is now eleven years old.

Background: Amy lives at home with her mum, step-dad and younger brother and sister. She is a full-time student. Ethnicity/nationality: White British.

Audio & video

Amy has two younger siblings, Harry and Molly, to whom she is “quite close”. Her brother Harry has autism as well as severe learning difficulties. She described him as “very loving and affectionate”. She suspected he had autism after reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and so wasn’t surprised when the diagnosis was confirmed. However, she reported that her mum and step-dad were “sort of shocked by it”. 
Harry attends a special school and will not be required to take State exams such as GCSEs. As a result, Amy is concerned that he may leave school without any qualifications and so find it difficult to find employment. However, her greatest concern for him is that he may “stay at home forever”.
According to Amy, the most difficult thing about having a sibling with autism is that it is difficult to “understand what’s going on in their world”. She believes that the best thing about Harry is his laugh, which she describes as “the most infectious laugh in the world”.
Amy thinks that, as there is a great deal of information about the symptoms of autism on the internet, she would be interested to meet other siblings to “find out what it’s like for them”.


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