Having a sibling on the autism spectrum

Marti: Interview 09

Female
Age at interview: 20

Brief outline: Marti's younger brother was diagnosed with autism when he was about 3 years old. He is now 18.

Background: Marti lives with her mum and brother. She works at two different shops. Ethnicity/nationality: White British.

Audio & video

Marti’s brother, who is two years younger than her, has severe autism with challenging behaviour. He has limited speech and limited social skills. He is still at school but now he has turned 18, Marti and her mum are trying to find some provision for him, particularly because they both work. Growing up with her brother was challenging for Marti at times and she describes being slapped, having her hair pulled and feeling very embarrassed going out shopping with him. Her brother could get frustrated and angry at times and this led to destructive behaviour such as smashing the television or throwing games consoles down the stairs. 
 
Now he is older, Marti feels her brother respects her more. She gets him ready for his taxi to school each Monday and finds that “he is as good as gold now” to look after. He has a lot of rituals that can be disruptive for the family, for example, they can only drive particular routes otherwise he can become aggressive. These rituals change over time as he drops some but then adopts different ones. 
 
Marti and her brother attend a support group so spend some time together there, but overall, she says that “he just wants to be left alone”. Marti doesn’t want to have children herself because she wouldn’t want to “bring another life that would have problems”.
 

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