Having a sibling on the autism spectrum

Ellie: Interview 06

Female
Age at interview: 17

Brief outline: Ellie's brother is thirteen. He was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old.

Background: Ellie lives at home with her mum. She is a full-time student. Ethnicity/nationality: White British.

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Ellie lives at home with her mum. She has one brother who was diagnosed with autism when she was six. He has been living in a care home for the last two years since his behaviour became too difficult for her and her mum to cope with. According to Ellie, life was very stressful prior to him leaving. She said that there had been times when he “got really angry”, “lashed out” and bit her. 
 
Ellie found it difficult when he left their home because although she didn’t want him to go she also found him difficult to live with. The stress of him leaving home caused Ellie to have IBS with related ulcers and a hernia. She feels sad that he has to live away from home, but thinks it is better in a way because it has eased the burden on her and her parents and also because he has the opportunity to “improve all the time”.
 
Ellie attended a support group for about six months, but it had to stop because nobody wanted to run it. She would like to see how others have dealt with having a sibling with autism so that she could compare herself with them and see that she “might not have been that bad at it”. Ellie summarised her experience by saying that “it’s like having any other sort of sibling, it’s just a bit more work”. She described him as “wonderful” and that she wouldn’t ever change him except to “get him a little better”.
 

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