Having a sibling on the autism spectrum

Damian: Interview 07

Age at interview: 29

Brief outline: Damian's younger brother, who is now twenty-five, has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

Background: Damian works as a learning support worker, supporting students who have Asperger's syndrome. He has two brothers. Ethnicity/nationality: White British.

Audio & video

Damian has two brothers, and is particularly close to his younger brother who has Asperger syndrome. According to Damian, his brother “can be quite aggressive”, “struggles in social situations” and needs routine and structure. At age sixteen, his brother left home and went to live at a residential unit because he had become “quite stressful to live with”. Damian felt that this was good for his parents because it gave them some space and allowed them to focus on other things other than his brother.
According to Damian, when his brother causes problems at home, his parents phone him for help. Damian feels that it was nice to know that his brother looks up to him, but also that “it’s quite a lot of responsibility”. Damian thought that one of the best things about his brother was his sense of humour. He often has him “in stitches”. However, sometimes he can “go over the top a bit” and needs to be told to stop. 
Damian sustained a traumatic brain injury about one year ago. Following his injury, he found that he “got frustrated with noise, decision-making, being put on the spot and keeping up with conversation”. He feels as a result he now has a better understanding of Asperger syndrome. 
Damian worries about his brother’s future but believes that he and his older brother will help him as best they can. Damien explains how he would not change his experience with his brother “for the world”.


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