Having a sibling on the autism spectrum

Sophie: Interview 08

Female
Age at interview: 20

Brief outline: Sophie's older brother was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was seven years old. He is now twenty-two.

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

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Sophie’s brother is two years older than her and has Asperger syndrome. Sophie says her brother experiences high levels of anxiety and, as a result, home life is “quite tense”. Sophie and her brother are close and they often spend time “just chatting about his problems”.
 
Sophie’s brother attended a local special school. She described this as “the killing of him” as he felt he should have attended mainstream school and is now trying to “shake off his tag of special needs”. She believes that he would have thrived at mainstream school and, had he gone there, they, as a family, “wouldn’t have half the problems” that they have now. 
 
Sophie describes her brother as “really intelligent” with a “fantastic memory bank”. She explains how he has problems with his social and communicational skills and awareness of danger. She thinks he has “been let down quite badly” by Social Services because they have not found any jobs or further education for him. She found this “sad” as it distresses her mum who is “constantly ringing round people for answers”. She believes that there should be more support for parents of autistic children. 
 
Sophie thinks her experience has had a significant impact on her health. She has several conditions including an anxiety disorder, panic attacks and compulsive skin picking. She summarises her experience of having a sibling with Asperger syndrome as “quite tough and very emotional”.
 
 

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