Having children with special needs has to be one of the biggest challenges that I have ever faced. There are good days, bad days and days where I just don't know how I got through them. On a bad day, I may still be in my pyjamas at lunchtime, still not had a shower, lucky if I have had time for a drink.

 

Both of my children have their own struggles, and require a lot of attention and care. At the minute, my daughter is going through a difficult time. She can find it hard to communicate her needs, and will often cry and throw herself on to the floor with frustration. She doesn't really know how to play with toys, and instead constantly wants someone to sit with her and entertain her, she wakes up at 2.00 AM most mornings and doesn't go back to sleep, so she cries with tiredness throughout the day. She has many sensory needs, and when she becomes overloaded will suffer terrible meltdowns. And let's not get started on meal times!

 

It is not easy for my daughter right now, but it is also not easy for my 13 year-old son with autism either.

When I am trying to help my daughter, my son is wonderful! Despite his own struggles and needs, he recognises that his sister needs me at that time, so he will go and get a few of his toy figures and play with them at the table. He finds loud noises extremely painful and distressing. Iinstead of getting upset like he used to at his sister, he puts on his ear defenders. Sometimes his sister, who is three, tries to push him or hit him, he just walks away as he has been "trained" to do.

 

There are days where I am so exhausted from sleepless nights that I don't have the energy to get out and about with the children, so we end up staying in and lazing around. My son will cheer me up on these lazy days by pulling funny faces to make me laugh, or by doing a silly dance! When my son sees his sister flapping her hands, about to get upset, he will blow raspberries or meow like a cat to help cheer her up!

 

There are many days we go out and have to return home within a few minutes because my daughter has gotten so overwhelmed she has ended up having a meltdown. My son does get upset about times like this, but he accepts it, he knows his sister needs to go home at short notice, I hope one day my daughter understands why we have to rush home with her brother too!

 

My son has started to share his toys with his little sister, he knows she will throw them or chew them, but he still shares, knowing it will keep her happy for a few minutes. He is such an amazing boy, and deserves to be recognised as an amazing brother and son.

 

These may seem like small things to others, but for my son, coping like this takes a lot of focus, patience and understanding. It requires him to stop and think about how others around him are feeling, which doesn't come easily to him.

 

This is one of Yasmin’s first blogs. You can follow her Facebook page Sugar, Spice and all things Autism to find out more.